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^^\^      y.sij.v.--'™* 



®«)tneU  Uttivetsitg  Jikatg 



KrlSiOli.  f»(r*.jl^iPl 



Cornell  University  Library 
HX86  .T89  1897 

Instead  o'  ?  book 


3   1924  030  333  052 

The  original  of  tiiis  book  is  in 
tine  Cornell  University  Library. 

There  are  no  known  copyright  restrictions  in 
the  United  States  on  the  use  of  the  text. 




By  a  Man  Too  Busy  to  Write  One 





Editor  of  Liberty 

Liberty,  Not  the  Daughter,  but  the  Mother  of  Order. — Proudhon 



BENJ.  R.  TUCKER,  Publisher 


Foy  always  in  thine  eyes^  O  Liberty  ! 

Shines  that  high  light  whereby  the  world  is  saved; 

And  though  thou  slay  us,  we  will  trust  in  thee. 

John  Hay. 

In  abolishing  rent  and  interest^  the  last  vestiges  of  old-time  slavery ^  the  Revolu- 
tion  at  one  stroke  the  sword  o/ the  executioner^  the  seal  0/ the  magistrate,, 
the  club  0/  the  policeman^  the  gauge  0/  the  exciseman^  the  erasing-kni/e  0/  the 
department  clerks  all  those  insignia  of  Politics^  which  young  Liberty  grinds  beneath 

kar  heel* 


a:o  tb.e  iHicmorg 


My  Old  Friend  and  Master 


Whose  Teachings  were  My  First  Source  of  Light 
I  Gratefully  Dedicate  this  Volume 



Preface, ix 

State  Socialism  and  Anarchism  :   How  Far  They  Agree  and 

Wherein  They  Differ, i 

The  Individual,  Society,  and  the  State, ig 

The  Relation  of  the  State  to  the  Individual 21 

Contract  or  Organism,  What's  That  to  Us  ?        .         .        .         .31 

The  Nature  of  the  State, 34 

A  Misinterpretation  of  Anarchism, 38 

Mr.  Levy's  Maximum, 40 

Resistance  to  Taxation 43 

A  Puppet  for  a  God,    .         .  ......    46 

Mr.  Perrine's  Difficulties,    . 50 

Where  We  Stand,         .         .        . 52 

Tu-Whit !  Tu-Whoo  !  .         . 55 

Rights  and  Duties  Under  Anarchy, 58 

More  Questions, .61 

Mr.  Blodgett's  Final  Question, 62 

Trying  to  Be  and  Not  to  Be, 63 

My  Explanation, 65 

A  Plea  for  Non-Resistance' 67 

Liberty  and  Aggression,      ........     72 

Rule  or  Resistance — Which  ? 75 

The  Advisability  of  Violence 78 

Mr.  Pentecost  an  Abettor  of  Government,  .        .         .         .         .81 

The  Philosopher  of  the  Disembodied, 82 

The  Woes  of  an  Anarchist, 89 

The  Moral  of  Mr.  Donisthorpe's  Woes, 98 

L'Etat  est  Mort ;  Vive  I'^tat ! 99 

Voluntary  Co-operatioti, 1O3 

L'Etat,  C'est  I'Ennemi, 105 

A  Libertarian's  Pet  Despotisms, 115 

Defensive  Despotism, 116 

Still  in  the  Procrustean  Bed, 116 

Pinney  Struggling  with  Procrustes, 118 

A  Back  Town  Heard  From, 120 

In  Form  a  Reply,  In  Reality  a  Surrender 122 

'    Fool  Voters  and  Fool  Editors, 125 

Ergo  and  Presto, 126 


VI  Contents. 


The  Right  of  Ownership .129 

Individual  Sovereignty  Our  Goal,        .        .        .        ..        .        .  131 

New  Abolition  and  Its  Nine  Demands, 133 

Compulsory  Education  Not  Anarchistic, 134 

Relations  Between  Parents  and  Children 136 

Compulsory  Education  and  Anarchism, 143 

Children  Under  Anarchy, '44 

Not  a  Decree,  but  a  Prophecy,    .......  146 

Anarchy  and  Rape, i49 

An  Unfortunate  Analogy, 150 

The  Boycott  and  Its  Limit, 152 

A  Case  Where  Discussion  Convinced, I53 

A  Spirit  More  Evil  Than  Alcohol I54 

A  Word  About  Capital  Punishment, 156 

No  Place  for  a  Promise,       ........  I57 

On  Picket  Duty, 158 

Money  and  Interest,      .........  i75 

"Who  is  the  Somebody ?" i77 

Reform  Made  Ridiculous, I79 

A  Defence  of  Capital, 180 

"The  Position  of  William," 181 

Capital's  Claim  to  Increase,         .         .         .         .         .         .         .183 

A  Baseless  Charge,      .         . 186 

Another  Answer  to  Mr.  Babcock, i8g 

Attention,  "  Apex  !" 189 

Usury,          . 190 

Apex  or  Basis, 191 

"The  Position  of  William," J99 

Economic  Hodge-Podge, 200 

An  Unwarranted  Question,          .......  208 

An  Alleged  Flaw  in  Anarchy, 209 

Shall  the  Transfer  Papers  be  Taxed  ? 212 

Money  and  Capital,     .........  215 

To-day's  View  of  Interest,  .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .  217 

To-day's  Excellent  Fooling 220 

Government  and  Value,       ........  222 

The  Power  of  Government  Over  Values, 223 

Free  Trade  in  Banking,       ........  227 

Currency  and  Government, 235 

The  Equalization  of  Wage  and  Product,      .....  237 

A  False  Idea  of  Freedom, 245 

Monopoly,  Communism,  and  Liberty,         .....  246 

Pinney  His  Own  Procrustes, 248 

Ten  Questions  Briefly  Answered, 252 

A  Standard  of  Value  a  Necessity, 253 

A  Necessity  or  a  Delusion — Which  ? 256 

Anarchy's  New  Ally, 259 

Economic  Superstition,        ........  260 

A  Book  That  is  Not  Milk  for  Babes, 262 

State  Banking  Versus  Mutual  Banking,      .....  265 

Mr.  Bilgram's  Rejoinder,     . 268 

Free  Money, 269 

Free  Money  First 273 

StoD  the  Main  Leak  First, 274 



An  Indispensable  Accident 276 

Leland  Stanford's  Land  Bank,     .......  278 

Mutualism  in  the  Service  of  Capital 281 

Edward  Atkinson's  Evolution, 282 

A  Greenbacker  in  a  Corner 284 

Free  Money  and  the  Cost  Principle, 286 

Proudhon's  Bank,        .         .         .         .         .         .  •      .         .         .  287 

Why  Wages  Should  Absorb  Profits, 289 

A  Great  Idea  Perverted 290 

On  Picket  Duty, 292 

Lanb  and  Rent, 297 

"The  Land  for  the  People,"       .......  299 

Basic  Principles  of  Economics  :  Rent,        .        .        .         •        .  300 

Rent  :  Parting  Words,         .        . 304 

Property  Under  Anarchism,         .......   309 

Mere  Land  No  Saviour  for  Labor, 313 

Henry  George's  "  Secondary  Factors," 314 

The  State  Socialists  and  Henry  George 315 

Liberty  and  the  George  Theory, 316 

A  Criticism  That  Does  Not  Apply 322 

Land  Occupancy  and  Its  Conditions, 324 

Competitive  Protection, 326 

Protection,  and  Its  Relation  to  Rent, 328 

Liberty  and  Land, 333 

Rent,  and  Its  Collection  by  Force, 337 

The  Distribution  of  Rent, 339 

Economic  Rent, 343 

Liberty  and  Property,  .      / 348 

Going  to  Pieces  on  the  Rocks, 351 

"Simplifying  Government," 352 

On  Picket  Duty 353 

Socialism, 359 

'Socialism  :  What  It  Is,        .......        .  361 

Armies  That  Overlap, 363 

Socialism  and  the  Lexicographers 365 

The  Sin  of  Herbert  Spencer, 370 

Will  Professor  Sumner  Choose? 371 

After  Freiheit,  Der  Socialist, .  375 

State  Socialism  and  Liberty 377 

On  Picket  Duty 378 

Communism, 381 

General  Walker  and  the  Anarchists 383 

Herr  Most  on  Libertas, 393 

Still  Avoiding  the  Issue, 397 

Herr  Most  Distilled  and  Consumed,    .         .         .         .         .         .  401 

Should  Labor  be  Paid  or  Not  ? 403 

Does  Competition  Mean  War.? 404 

Competition  and  Monopoly  Confounded, 406 

On  Picket  Duty, 407 

Methods ■ 409 

The  Power  of  Passive  Resistance 411 

The  Irish  Situation  in  1881 414 

The  Method  of  Anarchy, 415 

Theoretical  Methods, 417 



A  Seed  Planted, ,        .        .  420 

The  "  Home  Guard  "  Heard  From 421 

Colonization, 423 

Labor's  New  Fetich, 424 

Mr.  Pentecost's  Belief  in  the  Ballot, 426 

A  Principle  of  Social  Therapeutics, 427 

The  Morality  6f  Terrorism, 428 

The  Beast  of  Communism, 429 

Time  Will  Tell, .         .434 

The  Facts  Coming  to  Light,         .,...•.  435 

Liberty  and  Violence, •439 

Convicted  by  a  Packed  Jury, 442 

Why  Expect  Justice  from  the  State  ? 444 

The  Lesson  of  the  Hour 446 

Convicted  for  Their  Opinions 447 

To  the  Breach,  Comrades  ! 448 

On  Picket  Duty, 449 

Miscellaneous, .451 

The  Lesson  of  Homestead 453 

Save  Labor  from  Its  Friends 455 

Is  Frick  a  Soldier  of  Liberty  ? 457 

Shall  Strikers  be  Court-Martialled? 459 

Census-Taking  Fatal  to  Monopoly,      ......  461 

Anarchy  Necessarily  Atheistic, 463 

A  Fable  for  Malthusians 465' 

Auberon  Herbert  and  His  Work, 469 

Solutions  of  the  Labor  Problem, 472 

Karl  Marx  as  Friend  and  Foe,     ...  ...  476 

Do  the  Knights  of  Labor  Love  Liberty  ? 480 

Play-House  Philanthropy,  ........  4S3 

Beware  of  Batterson  ! 487 

A  Gratifying  Discovery,       ........  489 

Cases  of  Lamentable  Longevity,  .         .         .         .         .         .  "490 

Spooner  Memorial  Resolutions, 491 

On  Picket  Duty 493 

Index, 497 


"iNSTEAEk  of  a  b(3ok  !"  I  hear  the  reader  exclaim,  as  he  picks  up  this 
volume  and  glances  at  its  title  ;  "  why,  it  is  a  book."  To  all  appearance, 
yes  ;  essentially,  no.  It  is,  to  be  sure,  an  assemblage  within  a  cover  of 
printed  sheets  consecutively  numbered  ;  but  this  alone  does  not  constitute 
a  book.  A  book,  properly  speaking,  is  first  of  all  a  thing  of  unity  and 
symmetry,  of  order  and  finish  ;  it  is  a  literary  structure,  each  part  of  which 
is  subordinated  to  the  whole  and  created  for  it.  To  satisfy  such  a  standard 
this  volume  does  not  pretend  ;  it  is  not  a  structure,  but  an  afterthougnt, 
a  more  or  less  coherent  arrangement,  each  part  of  which  was  created 
almost  without  reference  to  any  other.  Yet  not  quite  so,  after  all ;  otner- 
wise  even  the  smallest  degree  of  coherence  were  scarcely  possible. 

The  facts  are  these.  In  August,  1881,  I  started  in  Boston,  in  a  very 
quiet  way,  a  little  fortnightly  journal  called  Liberty.  Its  purpose  was  to 
contribute  to  the  solution  of  social  problems  by  carrying  to  a  logical  con- 
clusion the  battle,  against  authority, — to  aid  in  what  Proudhon  had  called 
"the  dissolution  of  government  in  the  economic  organism."  Beyond  the 
opportunity  of  thus  contributing  my  mite  I  looked  for  little  from  my  ex- 
periment. But,  almost  before  I  knew  it,  the  tiny  paper  had  begun  to 
exert  an  influence  of  which  I  had  not  dreamed.  It  went  the  wide  world  over. 
In  nearly  every  important  city,  and  in  many  a  country  town,  it  found 
some  mind  ripe  for  its  reception.  Each  of  these  minds  became  a  centre  of 
influence,  and  in  considerably  less  than  a  year  a  specific  movement  had 
sprung  into  existence,  under  Proudhon's  happily  chosen  name.  Anarchism, 
of  which  Liberty  was  generally  recognized  as  the  organ.  Since  that  time, 
through  varying  fortunes,  the  paper  has  gone  on,  with  slow  but  steady 
growth,  doing  its  quiet  work.  Books  inspired  by  it,  and  other  journals 
which  it  called  into  being,  have  made  their  appearance,  not  only  in  various 
parts  of  the  United  States,  but  in  England,  France,  Germany,  and  at  the 
antipodes.  Anarchism  is  now  one  of  the  forces  of  the  world.  But  its 
literature,  voluminous  as  it  already  is,  lacks  a  systematic  text-book.  I 
have  often  been  urged  to   attempt  the  task  of  writing  one.     Thus  far, 


X  pfefiFACfi. 

however,  I  have  been  too  busy,  and  there  is  no  prospect  that  I  shall  evet 
be  less  so.  Pending  the  arrival  of  the  man  having  the  requisite  time, 
means,  and  ability  for  the  production  of  the  desired  book,  it  has  been  de- 
termined to  put  forth,  as  a  sort  of  makeshift,  this  partial  collection  of  my 
writings  for  Liberty,  giving  them,  by  an  attempt  at  classification,  some 
semblance  of  system  ;  the  thought  being  that,  if  these  v\rritings,  scattered 
in  bits  here,  there,  and  everywhere,  have  already  influenced  so  many 
minds,  they  ought  in  a  compact  and  cumulative  form  to  influence  very 
many  more. 

The  volume  opens  with  a  paper  on  "  State  Socialism  and  Anarchism," 
which  covers  in  a  summary  way  nearly  the  entire  scope  of  the  work. 
Following  this  is  the  main  section,  "The  Individual,  Society,  and  the 
State,"  dealing  with  the  fundamental  principles  of  human  association.  In 
the  third  and  fourth  sections  application  of  these  principles  is  made  to  the 
two  great  economic  factors,  money  and  land.  Iii  these  Uwo  sections, 
moreover,  as  well  as  in  the  fifth  and  sixth,  the  various  authoritarian  social 
solutions  which  go  counter  to  these  principles  are  dealt  with, — namely, 
Greenbackism,  the  Single  Tax,  State  Socialism,  and  so-called  "  Com- 
munistic Anarchism."  The  seventh  section  treats  of  the  methods  by 
which  these  principles  can  be  realized  ;  and  in  the  eighth  are  grouped  nu- 
merous articles  scarcely  within  the  scheme  of  classification,  but  which  it 
has  seemed  best  for  various  reasons  to  preserve.  For  the  elaborate  index 
to  the  whole  the  readers  are  indebted  to  my  friends  Francis  D.  Tandy  and 
Henry  Cohen,  of  Denver,  Colo. 

The  matter  in  this  volume  is  largely  controversial.  This  has  frequently 
necessitated  the  reproduction  of  other  articles  than  the  author's  (distin- 
guished by  a  different  type),  in  order  to  make  the  author's  intelligible.  A 
volume  thus  made  must  be  characterized  by  many  faults,  both  of  style 
and  substance.  I  am  too  busy,  not  only  to  write  a  book,  but  to  satisfac- 
torily revise  this  substitute.  With  but  few  and  slight  exceptions,  the 
articles  stand  as  originally  written.  Much  they  contain  that  is  personal 
and  irrelevant,  and  that  would  not  have  found  its  way  into  a  book  spe- 
cially prepared.  It  would  be  strange,  too,  if  in  writings  covering  a  period 
of  twelve  years  there  were  not  some  inconsistencies,  especially  in  the 
terminology  and  form  of  expression.  For  such,  if  any  there  be,  and  for 
all  minor  weaknesses,  I  crave,  because  of  the  circumstances,  a  measure  of 
indulgence  from  the  critic.  But,  on  the  other  hand,  I  challenge  the  most 
searching  examination  of  the  central  positions  taken.  Undamaged  by 
the  constant  fire  of  twelve  years  of  controversy,  they  are  proof,  in  my 
judgment,  against  the  heaviest  guns.  Apologizing,  therefore,  for  their 
form  only,  and  full   of  faith  in  their  power,  I  offer  these  pages  to  the 

public   INSTEAD   OF  A  BOOK. 

B."R.  T. 





Probably  no  agitation  has  ever  attained  the  magnitude, 
either  in  the  number  of  its  recruits  or  the  area  of  its  influ- 
ence, which  has  been  attained  by  Modern  Socialism,  and  at 
the  same  time  been  so  little  understood  and  so  misunderstood, 
not  only  by  the  hostile  and  the  indifferent,  but  by  the  friendly, 
and  even  by  the  great  mass  of  its  adherents  themselves.  This 
unfortunate  and  highly  dangerous  state  of  things  is  due  partly 
to  the  fact  that  the  human  relationships  which  this  move- 
ment— if  anything  so  chaotic  can  be  called  a  movement — aims 
to  transform,  involve  no  special  class  or  classes,  but  literally  all 
mankind;  partly  to  the  fact  that  these  relationships  are  infi- 
nitely more  varied  and  complex  in  their  nature  than  those 
with  which  any  special  reform   has  ever  been  called  upon  to- 

*  In  the  summer  of  1886,  shortly  after  the  bomb-throwing  at  Chicago, 
the  author  of  this  volume  received  an  invitation  from  the  editor  of  the 
North  American  Review  to  furjjish  him  a  paper  on  Anarchism.  In  re- 
sponse the  above  article  was  sent  him.  A  few  days  later  the  author  re- 
ceived a  letter  announcing  the  acceptance  of  his  paper,  tfie  editor  volun- 
teering the  declaration  that  it  was  the  ablest  article  that  he  had  received 
during  his  editorship  of  the  Review.  The  next  number  of  the  Review  bore 
the  announcement,  on  the  second  page  of  its  cover,  that  the  article  (giving 
its  title  and  the  name  of  the  author)  would  appear  at  an  early  date. 
Month  after  month  went  by,  and  the  article  did  not  appear.  Repeated 
letters  of  inquiry  failed  to  bring  any  explanation.  Finally,  after  nearly  a 
year  had  elapsed,  the  author  wrote  to  the  editor  that  he  had  prepared  the 
article,  not  to  be  pigeon-holed,  but  to  be  printed,  and  that  he  wished  the 
matter  to  be  acted  upon  immediately.  In  reply  he  received  his  manuscript 
and  a  check  for  seventy-five  dollars.  Thereupon  he  made  a  few  slight 
changes  in  the  article  and  delivered  it  on  several  occasions  as  a  lecture,  after 
which  it  was  printed  in  Liberty  of  March  10, 1888. 

4  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

deal;  and  partly  to  the  fact  that  the  great  moulding  forces  of 
society,  the  channels  of  information  and  enlightenment,  are 
well-nigh  exclusively  under  the  control  of  those  whose  im- 
mediate pecuniary  interests  are  antagonistic  to  the  bottom 
claim  of  Socialism  that  labor  should  be  put  in  possession  of 
its  own. 

Almost  the  only  persons  who  may  be  said  to  comprehend 
even  approximately  the  significance,  principles,  and  purposes 
of  Socialism  are  the  chief  leaders  of  the  extreme  wings  of  the. 
Socialistic  forces,  and  perhaps  a  few  of  the  money  kings  them-, 
selves.  It  is  a  subject  of  which  it  has  lately  become  quite ■ 
the  fashion  for  preacher,  professor,  and  penny-a-liner  to  treat, 
and,  for  the  most  part,  woful  work  they  have  made  with  it, 
exciting  the  derision  and  pity  of  those  competent  to  judge. 
That  those  prominent  in  the  intermediate  Socialistic  divisions 
do  not  fully  understand  what  they  are  about  is  evident  from 
the  positions  they  occupy.  If  they  did  ;  if  they  were  consist- 
ent, logical  thinkers  ;  if  they  were  what  the  French  call  conse- 
quent men, — their  reasoning  faculties  would  long  since  have 
driven  them  to  one  extreme  or  the  other. 

For  it  is  a  curious  fact  that  the  two  extremes  of  the  vast 
army  now  under  consideration,  though  united,  as  has  been 
hinted  above,  by  the  common  claim  that  labor  shall  be  put  in 
possession  of  its  own,  are  more  diametrically  opposed  to  each 
other  in  their  fundamental  principles  of  social  action  and  their 
methods  of  reaching  the  ends  aimed  at  than  either  is  to  their 
common  enemy,  the  existing  society.  They  are  based  on  two 
principles  the  history  of  whose  conflict  is  almost  equivalent  to 
the  history  of  the  world  since  man  came  into  it;  and  all  inter- 
mediate parties,  including  that  of  the  upholders  of  the  exist- 
ing society,  are  based  upon  a  compromise  between  them.  It 
is  clear,  then,  that  any  intelligent,  deep-rooted  opposition  to 
the  prevailing  order  of  things  nftist  come  from  one  or  the 
other  of  these  extremes,  for  anything  from  any  other  source, 
far  from  being  revolutionary  in  character,  could  be  only  in  the 
nature  of  such  superficial  modification  as  would  be  utterly 
unable  to  concentrate  upon  itself  the  degree  of  attention  and 
interest  now  bestowed  upon  Modern  Socialism. 

The  two  principles  referred  to  are  Authority  and  Liberty, 
and  the  names  of  the  two  schools  of  Socialistic  thought  which 
fully  and  unreservedly  represent  one  or  the  other  of  them  are, 
respectively.  State  Socialism  and  Anarchism.  Whoso  knows 
what  these  two  schools  want  and  how  they  propose  to  get  it 
understands  the  Socialistic  movement.  For,  just  as  it  has 
been  said  that  there  is  no  half-way  house  between  Rome  and 


Reason,  so  it  may  be  said  that  there  is  no  half-way  house  be- 
tween State  Socialism  and  Anarchism.  There  are,  in  fact, 
two  currents  steadily  flowing  from  the  centre  of  the  Socialistic 
forces  which  are  concentrating  them  on  the  left  and  on  the 
right;  and,  if  Socialism  is  to  prevail,  it  is  among  the  possibili- 
ties that,  after  this  movement  of  separation  has  been  com- 
pleted and  the  existing  order  has  been  crushed  out  between 
the  two  camps,  the  ultimate  and  bitterer  conflict  will  be  still 
to  come.  In  that  case  all  the  eight-hour  men,  all  the  trades- 
unionists,  all  the  Knights  of  Labor,  all  the  land  nationalization- 
ists,  all  the  greenbackers,  and,  in  short,  all  the  members  of  the 
thousand  and  one  different  battalions  belonging  to  the  great 
army  of  Labor,  will  have  deserted  their  old  posts,  and,  these 
being  arrayed  on  the  ojie  side  and  the  other,  the  great  battle 
will  begin.  What  a  final  victory  for  the  State  Socialists  will 
mean,  and  what  a  final  victory  for  the  Anarchists  will  mean, 
it  is  the  purpose  of  this  paper  to  briefly  state. 

To  do  this  intelligently,  however,  I  must  first  describe  the 
ground  common  to  both,  the  features  that  make  Socialists  of 
each  of  them. 

The  econoinic  principles  of  Modern  Socialism  are  a  logical 
deduction  from  the  principle  laid  down  by  Adam  Smith  in 
the  early  chapters  of  his  "  Wealth  of  Nations," —  namely,  that 
labor  is  the  true  measure  of  price.  But  Adam  Smith,  after 
stating  this  principle  most  clearly  and  concisely,  immediately 
abandoned  all  further  consideration  of  it  to  devote  himself  to 
showing  what  actually  does  measure  price,  and  how,  therefore, 
wealth  is  at  present  distributed.  Since  his  day  nearly  all  the 
political  economists  have  followed  his  example  by  confining 
their  function  to  the  description  of  society  as  it  is,  in  its  in- 
dustrial and  commercial  phases.  Socialism,  on  the  contrary, 
extends  its  function  to  the  description  of  society  as  it  should 
be,  and  the  discovery  of  the  means  of  making  it  what  it 
should  be.  Half  a  century  or  more  after  Smith  enunciated 
the  principle  above  stated,  Socialism  picked  it  up  where  he 
had  dropped  it,  and,  in  following  it  to  its  logical  conclusions, 
made  it  the  basis  of  a  new  economic  philosophy. 

This  seems  to  have  been  done  independently  by  three  differ- 
ent men,  of  three  different  nationalities,  in  three  different 
languages:  Josiah  Warren,  an  American;  Pierre  J.  Proudhon,  a 
Frenchman;  Karl  Marx,  a  German  Jew.  That  Warren  and 
Proudhon  arrived  at  their  conclusio'hs  singly  and  unaided  is 
certain;  but  whether  Marx  was  not  largely  indebted  to  Prou- 
dhon for  his  economic  ideas  is  questionable.  However  this  may 
be,  Marx's  presentation  of  the  ideas  was  in  so  many  respects 

6  INSTEAD    OP    A   BOOK. 

peculiarly  his  own  that  he  is  fairly  entitled  to  the  credit  of 
originality.  That  the  work  of  this  interesting  trio  should  have 
been  done  so  nearly  simultaneously  would  seem  to  indicate 
that  Socialism  was  in  the  air,  and  that  the  time  was  ripe  and 
the  conditions  favorable  for  the  appearance  of  this  new  school 
of  thought.  So  far  as  priority  of  time  is  concerned,  the  credit 
seems  to  belong  to  Warren,  the  American, — a  fact  which 
should  be  noted  by  the  stump  orators  who  are  so  fond  of  de- 
claiming against  Socialism  as  an  imported  article.  ,  Of  the 
purest  revolutionary  blood,  too,  this  Warren,  for  he  descends 
from  the  Warren  who  fell  at  Bunker  Hill. 

From  Smith's  principle  that  labor  is  the  true  measure  of 
price — or,  as  Warren  phrased  it,  that  cost  is  the  proper  limit  of 
price — these  three  men  made  the  following  deductions  :  that 
fhe  natural  wage  of  labor  is  its  product;  that  this  wage,  or 
product,  is  the  only  just  source  of  income  (leaving  out,  of 
course,  gift,  inheritance,  etc.);  that  all  who  derive  income  from 
any  other  source  abstract  it  directly  or  indirectly  from  the 
natural  and  just  wage  of  labor;  that  this  abstracting  process 
generally  takes  one  of  three  forms, — interest,  rent,  and  profit; 
that  these  three  constitute  the  trinity  of  usury,  and  are  simply 
different  methods  of  levying  tribute  for  the  use  of  capital;  that, 
capital  being  simply  stored-up  labor  which  has  already  received 
its  pay  in  full,  its  use  ought  to  be  gratuitous,  on  the  principle 
that  labor  is  the  only  basis  of  price;  that  the  lender  of  capital 
is  entitled  to  its  return  intact,  and  nothing  more;  that  the  only 
reason  why  the  banker,  the  stockholder,  the  landlord,  the  man- 
ufacturer, and  the  merchant  are  able  to  exact  usury  from 
labor  lies  in  the  fact  that  they  are  backed  by  legal  privilege,  or 
monopoly;  and  that  the  only  way  to  secure  to  labor  the  enjoy-  ' 
ment  of  its  entire  product,  or  natural  wage,  is  to  strike  down 

^  It  must  not  be  inferred  that  either  Warren,  Proudhon,  or 
Marx  used  exactly  this  phraseology,  or  followed  exactly  this 
line  of  thought,  but  it  indicates  definitely  enough  the  funda- 
mental ground  taken  by  all  three,  and  their  substantial  thought 
up  to  the  limit  to  which  they  went  in  common.  And,  lest  I  may 
be  accused  of  stating  the  positions  and  arguments  of  these 
men  incorrectly,  it  may  be  well  to  say  in  advance  that  I  have 
viewed  them  broadly,  and  that,  for  the  purpose  of  sharp,  vivid, 
and  emphatic  comparison  and  contrast,  I  have  taken  consider- 
able liberty  with  their  thought  by  rearranging  it  in  an  order, 
and  often  in  a  phraseology,  of  my  own,  but,  I  am  satisfied, 
without,  in  so  doing,  misrepresenting  them  in  any  essentia,! 


It  was  at  this  point — the' necessity  of  striking  down  monop- 
oly— that  came  the  parting  of  their  ways.  Here  'the  road 
forked.  They  found  that  they  must  turn  either  to  the  right 
or  to  the  left, — follow  either  the  path  of  Authority  or  the  path 
of  Liberty.  Marx  went  one  way;  Warren  and  Proudhon  the 
other.     Thus  were  born  State  Socialism  and  Anarchism. 

First,  then.  State  Socialism,  which  may  be  described  as  the 
doctrine  that  all  the  affairs  of  men  should  be  managed  by  the 
government,  regardless  of  individual  choice. 
^  Marx,  its  founder,  concluded  that  the  only  way  to  abolish 
the  class  monopolies  was  to  centralize  and  consolidate  all  in- 
dustrial and  commercial  interests,  all  productive  and  distribu- 
tive agencies,  in  one  vast  monopoly  in  the  hands  of  the  State. 
The  government  must  become  banker,  manufacturer,  farmer, 
carrier,  and  merchant,  and  in  these  capacities  must  suffer  no 
competition.  Land,  tools,  and  all  instruments  of  production 
must  be  wrested  from  individual  hands,  and  made  the  property 
of  the  collectivity.  To  the  individual  can  belong  only  the 
products  to  be  consumed,  not  the  means  of  producing  them. 
A  man  may  own  his  clothes  and  his  food,  but  not  the  sewing- 
machine  which  makes  his  shirts  or  the  spade  which  digs  his 
potatoes.  Product  and  capital  are  essentially  different  things; 
the  former  belongs  to  individuals,  the  latter  to  society.  Society 
must  seize  the  capital  which  belongs  to  it,  by  the  ballot  if  it 
can,  by  revolution  if  it  must.  Once  in  possession  of  it,  it  must 
administer  it  on  the  majority  principle,  through  its  organ,  the 
State,  utilize  it  in  production  and  distribution,  fix  all  prices  by 
the  amount  of  labor  involved,  and  employ  the  whole  people  in 
its  workshops,  farms,  stores,  etc.  The  nation  must  be  trans- 
formed into  a  vast  bureaucracy,  and  every  individual  into  a  State 
official.  Everything  must  be  done  on  the  cost  principle,  the 
people  having  no  motive  to  make  a  profit  out  of  themselves. 
Individuals  not  being  allowed  to  own  capital,  no  one  can  em- 
ploy another,  or  even  himself.  Every  man  wiirbe  a  wage-re- 
ceiver, and  the  State  the  only  wage-payer.  He  who  will  not 
work  for  the  State  must  starve,  or,  more  likely,  go  to  prison. 
All  freedom  of  trade  must  disappear.  Competition  must  be 
utterly  wiped  out.  All  industrial  and  commercial  activity  must 
be  centred  in  one  vast,  enormous,  all-inClusive  monopoly. 
The  remedy  for  monopolies  is  monopoly,  y 

Such  is  the  economic  programme  of  State  Socialism  as 
adopted  from  Karl  Marx.  The  history  of  its  growth  and 
progress  cannot  be  told  here.  In  this  country  the  parties  that 
uphold  it  are  known  as  the  Socialistic  Labor  Party,  which  pre- 
tends to  follow  Karl  Marx  ;  the  Nationalists,  who  follow  Kari 

8  INSTEAD    OF   A   BOOK. 

Marx  filtered  through  Edward  Bellamy  ;  and  the  Christian 
Socialists,  who  follow  Karl  Marx  filtered  through  Jesus  Christ. 

What  other  applications  this  principle  of  Authority,  once 
adopted  in  the  economic  sphere,  will  develop  is  very  evident. 
It  means  the  absolute  control  by  the  majority  of  all  individual 
conduct.  The  right  of  such  control  is  already  admitted  by  the 
State  Socialists,  though  they  maintain  that,  as  a  matter  of  fact, 
the  individual  would  be  allowed  a  much  larger  liberty  than  he 
now  enjoys.  But  he  would  only  be  allowed  it ;  he  could  not 
claim  it  as  his  own.  There  would  be  no  foundation  of  society 
upon  a  guaranteed  equaUty  of  the  largest  possible  liberty. 
Such  liberty  as  might  exist  would  exist  by  sufferance  and 
could  be  taken  away  at  any  moment.  Constitutional  guaran- 
tees would  be  of  no  avail.  There  would  be  but  one  article  in 
the  constitution  of  a  State  Socialistic  country  :  "  The  right  of 
the  majority  is  absolute." 

The  claim  of  the  State  Socialists,  however,  that  this  right 
would  not  be  exercised  in  matters  pertaining  to  the  individual 
in  the  more  intimate  and  private  relations  of  his  life  is  not 
borne  out  by  the  history  of  governments.  It  has  ever  been  the 
tendency  of  power  to  add  to  itself,  to  enlarge  its  sphere,  to  en- 
croach beyond  the  limits  set  for  it ;  and  where  the  habit  of 
resisting  such  encroachment  is  not  fostered,  and  the  individual 
is  not  taught  to  be  jealous  of  his  rights,  individuality  gradually 
disappears  and  the  government  or  State  becomes  the  all-in-all. 
Control  naturally  accompanies  responsibility.  Under  the  sys- 
tem of  State  Socialism,  therefore,  which  holds  the  commu- 
nity responsible  for  the  health,  wealth,  and  wisdom  of  the 
individual,  it  is  evident  that  the  community,  through  its  major- 
ity expression,  will  insist  more  and  more  on  prescribing  the 
conditions  of  health,  wealth,  and  wisdom,  thus  impairing  and 
finally  destroying  individual  independence  and  with  it  all  sense 
of  individual  responsibility. 

Whatever,  then,  the  State  Socialists  may  claim  or  disclaim, 
their  system,  if  adopted,  is  doomed  to  end  in  a  State  religion, 
to  the  expense  of  which  all  must  contribute  and  at  the  altar  of 
which  all  must  kneel  ;  a  State  school  of  medicine,  by  whose 
practitioners  the  sick  must  invariably  be  treated  ;  a  State  system 
of  hygiene,  prescribing  what  all  must  and  must  not  eat,  drink, 
wear,  and  do  ;  a  State  code  of  morals,  which  will  not  content 
itself  with  punishing  crime,  but  will  prohibit  what  the  major- 
ity decide  to  be  vice  ;  a  State  system  of  instruction,  which  will 
do  away  with  all  private  schools,  academies,  and  colleges  ;  a 
State  nursery,  in  which  all  children  must  be  brought  up  in 
common  at  the   public  expense;  and,  finally,  a  State  family, 


with  an  attempt  at  stirpiculture,  or  scientific  breeding,  in 
which  no  man  and  woman  will  be  allowed  to  have  children  if 
the  State  prohibits  them  and  no  man  and  woman  can  refuse 
to  have  children  if  the  State  orders  them.  Thus  will  Author- 
ity achieve  its  acme  and  Monopoly  be  carried  to  its  highest 

Such  is  the  ideal  of  the  logical  State  Socialist,  such  the 
goal  which  lies  at  the  end  of  the  road  that  Karl  Marx  took. 
Let  us  now  follow  the  fortunes  of  Warren  and  Proudhon,  who 
took  the  other  road, — the  road  of  Liberty. 

This  brings  us  to  Anarchism,  which  may  be  described  as 
( the  doctrine  that  all  the  affairs  of  -men  should  be  managed  by  indi- 
viduals or  voluntary  associations,  and  that  the  State  should  be 
\  abolished. 

When  Warren  and  Proudhon,  in  prosecuting  their  search  for 
justice  to  labor,  came  face  to  face  with  the  obstacle  of  class 
monopolies,  they  saw  that  these  monopolies  rested  upon  Au- 
thority, and  concluded  that  the  thing  to  be  done  was,  not 
to  strengthen  this  Authority  and  thus  make  monopoly  uni- 
versal, but  to  utterly  uproot  Authority  and  give  full  sway  to 
the  opposite  principle.  Liberty,  by  making  competition,  the 
antithesis  of  monopoly,  universal.  They  saw  in  competition 
the  great  leveller  of  prices  to  the.  labor  cost  of  production. 
In  this  they  agreed  with  the  political  economists.  The  query 
then  naturally  presented  itself  why  all  prices  do  not  fall  to 
labor  cost ;  where  there  is  any  room  for  incomes  acquired 
otherwise  than  by  labor;  in  a  word,  why  the  usurer,  the  re- 
ceiver of  interest,  rent,  and  profit,  exists.  The  answer  was 
found  in  the  present  one-sidedness  of  competition.  It  was 
discovered  that  capital  had  so  manipulated  legislation  that  un- 
limited competition  is  allowed  in  supplying  productive  labor, 
thus  keeping  wages  down  to  the  starvation  point,  or  as  near  it 
as  practicable;  that  a  great  deal  of  competition  is  allowed  in 
supplying  distributive  labor,  or  the  labor  of  the  mercantile 
classes,  thus  keeping,  not  the  prices  of  goods,  but  the  mer- 
chants' actual  profits  on  them,  down  to  a  point  somewhat 
approximating  equitable  wages  for  the  merchants'  work;  but 
that  almost  no  competition  at  all  is  allowed  in  supplying  capi- 
tal, upon  the  aid  of  which  both  productive  and  distributive 
labor  are  dependent  for  their  power  of  achievement,  thus 
keeping  the  rate  of  interest  on  money  and  of  house-rent  and 
ground-rent  at  as  high  a  point  as  the  necessities  of  the  people 
will  bear. 

On  discovering  this,  Warren  and  Proudhon  charged  the 
political  economists  with  being  afraid  of  their  own  doctrine. 

lO  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

The  Manchester  men  were  accused  of  being  inconsistent. 
They  believed  in  liberty  to  compete  with  the  laborer  in  order 
to  reduce  his  wages,  but  not  in  liberty  to  compete  with  the 
.  capitalist  in  order  to  reduce  his  usury.  Laissez  faire  was  very 
good  sauce  for  the  goose,  labor,  but  very  poor  sauce  for  the 
gander,  capital.  But  how  to  correct  this  inconsistency,  how 
to  serve  this  gander  with  this  sauce,  how  to  put  capital  at  the 
service  of  business  men  and  laborers  at  cost,  or  free  of  usury, 
—that  was  the  problem. 

Marx,  as  we  have  seen,  solved  it  by  declaring  capital  to  be 
a  different  thing  from  product,  and  maintaining  that  it  belonged 
to  society  and  should  be  seized  by  society  and  employed  for 
the  benefit  of  all  alike.  Proudhon  scoffed  at  this  distinction 
between  capital  and  product.  He  maintained  that  capital  and 
product  are  not  different  kinds  of  wealth,  but  simply  alternate 
conditions  or  functions  of  the  same  wealth;  that  all  wealth 
undergoes  an  incessant  transformation  from  capital  into  prod- 
uct and  from  product  back  into  capital,  the  process  repeating 
itself  interminably;  that  capital  and  product  are  purely  social 
terms;  that  what  is  product  to  one  man  immediately  becomes 
capital  to  another,  and  vice  versa;  that,  if  there  were  but  one 
person  in  the  world,  all  wealth  would  be  to  him  at  once  cap- 
ital and  product;  that  the  fruit  of  A's  toil  is  his  product,  which, 
when  sold  to  B,  becomes  B's  capital  (unless  B  is  an  unpro- 
ductive consumer,  in  which  is  merely  wasted  wealth, 
outside  the  view  of  social  economy);  that  a  steam-engine  is 
just  as  much  product  as  a  coat,  and  that  a  coat  is  just  as  much 
capital  as  a  steam-engine;  and  that  the  same  laws  of  equity 
govern  the  possession  of  the  one  that  govern  the  possession  of 
the  other. 

For  these  and  other  reasons  Proudhon  and  Warren  found 
themselves  unable  to  sanction  any  such  plan  as  the  seizure  of 
capital  by  society.  But,  though  opposed  to  socializing  the 
ownership  of  capital,  they  aimed  nevertheless  to  socialize  its 
effects  by  making  its  use  beneficial  to  all  instead  of  a  means 
of  impoverishing  the  many  to  enrich  the  few.  And  when  the 
light  burst  in  upon  them,  they  saw  that  this  could  be  done  by 
subjecting  capital  to  the  natural  law  of  competition,  thus  bring- 
ing the  price  of  its  use  down  to  cost, — that  is,  to  nothing  be- 
yond the  expenses  incidental  to  handling  and  transferring 
it.  So  they  raised  the  banner  of  Absolute  Free  Trade;  free 
trade  at  home,  as  well  as  with  foreign  countries;  the  logical 
carrying  out  of  the  Manchester  doctrine;  laissez  faire  the 
universal  rule.  Under  this  banner  they  began  their  fight 
upon  monopolies,  whether  the  all-inclusive  monopoly  of  the 


State  Socialists,   or   the  various  class  monopolies  that   now 

Of  the  latter  they  distinguished  four  of  principal  impor- 
tance :  the  money  monopoly,  the  land  monopoly,  the  tariff  mo- 
nopoly, and  the  patent  monopoly. 

First  in  the  importance  of  its  evil  influence  they  considered 
the  money  monopoly,  which  consists  of  the  privilege  given  by 
the  government  to  certain  individuals,  or  to  individuals  hold- 
ing certain  kinds  of  property,  of  issuing  the  circulating  medi- 
um, a  privilege  which  is  now  enforced  in  this  country  by  a 
national  tax  of  ten  per  cent,  upon  all  other  persons  who  attempt 
to  furnish  a  circulating  medium,  and  by  State  laws  making  it 
a  criminal  offence  to  issue  notes  as  currency.  It  is  claimed 
that  the  holders  of  this  privilege  control  the  rate  of  interest, 
the  rate  of  rent  of  houses  and  buildings,  and  the  prices  of 
goods, — the  first  directly,  and  the  second  and  third  indirectly. 
For,  say  Proudhon  and  Warren,  if  the  business  of  banking 
were  made  free  to  all,  more  and  more  persons  would  enter  into 
it  until  the  competition  should  become  sharp  enough  to  reduce 
the  price  of  lending  money  to  the  labor  cost,  which  statistics 
show  to  be  less  than  three-fourths  of  one  per  cent.  In  that 
case  the  thousands  of  people  who  are  now  deterred  from  going 
into  business  by  the  ruinously  high  rates  which  they  must  pay 
for  capital  with  which  to  start  and  carry  on  business  will  find 
their  difficulties  removed.  If  they  have  property  which  they 
do  not  desire  to  convert  into  money  by  sale,  a  bank  will  take 
it  as  collateral  for  a  loan  of  a  certain  proportion  of  its  market 
value  at  less  than  one  per  cent,  discount.  If  they  have  no 
property,  but  are  industrious,  honest,  and  capable,  they  will 
generally  be  able  to  get  their  individual  notes  endorsed  by  a 
sufficient  number  of  known  and  solvent  parties;  and  on  such 
business  paper  they  will  be  able  to  get  a  loan  at  a  bank  on 
similarly  favorable  terms.  Thus  interest  will  fall  at  a  blow. 
The  banks  will  really  not  be  lending  capital  at  all,  but  will  be 
doing  business  on  the  capital  of  their  customers,  the  business 
consisting  in  an  exchange  of  the  known  and  widely  available 
credits  of  the  banks  for  the  unknown  and  unavailable,  but 
equally  good,  credits  of  the  customers,  and  a  charge  therefor 
of  less  than  one  per  cent.,  not  as  interest  for  the  use  of  capi- 
tal, but  as  pay  for  the  labor  of  running  the  banks.  This 
facility  of  acquiring  capital  will  give  an  unheard-of  impetus 
to  business,  and  consequently  create  an  unprecedented  demand 
for  labor, — a  demand  which  will  always  be  in  excess  of  the 
supply,  directly  the  contrary  of  the  present  condition  of  the 
labor   market.     Theii  will  be  seen  an  exemplification  of  the 

12  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

words  of  Richard  Cobden  that,  when  two  laborers  are  after 
one  employer,  wages  fall,  but  when  two  employers  are  after  one 
laborer,  wages  rise.  Labor  will  then  be  in  a  position  to  dic- 
tate its  wages,  and  will  thus  secure  its  natural  wage,  its  entire 
product.  Thus  the  same  blow  that  strikes  interest  down  will 
send  wages  up.  But  this  is  not  all.  Down  will  go  profits  also. 
For  merchants,  instead  of  buying  at  high  prices  on  credit, 
will  borrow  money  of  the  banks  at  less  than  one  per  cent., 
buy  at  low  prices  for  cash,  and  correspondingly  reduce  the 
prices  of  their  goods  to  their  customers.  And  with  the  rest 
will  go  house-rent.  For  no  one  who  can  borrow  capital  at  one 
per  cent,  with  which  to  build  a  house  of  his  own  will  consent 
to  pay  rent  to  a  landlord  at  a  higher  rate  than  that.  Such  is 
the  vast  claim  made  by  Proudhon  and  Warren  as  to  the  results 
of  the  simple  abolition  of  the  money  monopoly. 

Second  in  importance  comes  the  land  monopoly,  the  evil 
effects  of  which  are  seen  principally  in  exclusively  agricultural 
countries,  like  Ireland.  This  monopoly  consists  in  the  enforce- 
ment by  government  of  land  titles  which  do  not  rest  upon 
personal  occupancy  and  cultivation.  It  was  obvious  to  Warren 
and  Proudhon  that,  as  soon  as  individuals  should  no  longer  be 
protected  by  their  fellows  in  anything  but  personal  occupancy 
and  cultivation  of  land,  ground-rent  would  disappear,  and  so  ' 
usury  have  one  less  leg  to  stand  on.  Their  followers  of  to-day 
are  disposed  to  modify  this  claim  to  the  extent  of  admitting 
that  the  very  small  fraction  of  ground-rent  which  rests,  not  on 
monopoly,  but  on  superiority  of  soil  or  site,  will  continue  to 
exist  for  a  time  and  perhaps  forever,  though  tending  constantly 
to  a  minimum  under  conditions  of  freedom.  But  the  inequal- 
ity of  soils  which  gives  rise  to  the  economic  rent  of  land,  like 
the  inequality  of  human  skill  which  gives  rise  to  the  economic 
rent  of  ability,  is  not  a  cause  for  serious  alarm  even  to  the 
most  thorough  opponent  of  usury,  as  its  nature  is  not  that  of 
a  germ  from  which  other  and  graver  inequalities  may  spring, 
but  rather  that  of  a  decaying  branch  which  may  finally  wither 
and  fall. 

Third,  the  tariff  monopoly,  which  consists  in  fostering  pro- 
duction at  high  prices  and  under  unfavorable  conditions  by 
visiting  with  the  penalty  of  taxation  those  who  patronize  pro- 
duction at  low  prices  and  under  favorable  conditions.  The 
evil  to  which  this  monopoly  gives  rise  might  more  properly  be 
called  misusury  than  usury,  because  it  compels  labor  to  pay, 
not  exactly  for  the  use  of  capital,  but  rather  for  the  misuse  of 
capital.  The  abolition  of  this  monopoly  would  result  in  a 
great   reduction  in  the  prices  of  all  articles  taxed,  and  this 


saving  to  the  laborers  who  consume  these  articles  would  be 
another  step  toward  securing  to  the  laborer  his  natural  wage, 
his  entire  product.  Proud  hon  admitted,  however,  that  to 
abolish  this  monopoly  before  abolishing  the  money  monopoly 
would  be  a  cruel  and  disastrous  policy,  first,  because  the  evil 
of  scarcity  of  money,  created  by  the  money  monopoly,  would 
be  intensified  by  the  flow  of  money  out  of  the  country  which 
would  be  involved  in  an  excess  of  imports  over  exports,  and, 
second,  because  that  fraction  of  the  laborers  of  the  country 
which  is  now  employed  in  the  protected  industries  would  be 
turned  adrift  to  face  starvation  without  the  benefit  of  the  in- 
satiable demand  for  labor  which  a  competitive  money  system 
would  create.  Free  trade  in  money  at  home,  making  money 
and  work  abundant,  was  insisted  upon  by  Proudhon  as  a  prior 
condition  of  free  trade  in  goods  with  foreign  countries. 

Fourth,  the  patent  monopoly,  which  consists  in  protecting 
inventors  and  authors  against  competition  for  a  period  long 
enough  to  enable  them  to  extort  from  the  people  a  reward 
enormously  in  excess  of  the  labor  measure  of  their  services, — • 
in  other  words,  in  giving  certain  people  a  right  of  property  for 
a  term  of  years  in  laws  and  facts  of  Nature,  and  the  power  to 
exact  tribute  from  others  for  the  use  of  this  natural  wealth, 
which  should  be  open  to  all.  The  abolition  of  this  monopoly 
would  fill  its  beneficiaries  with  a  wholesome  fear  of  com- 
petition which  would  cause  them  to  be  satisfied  with  pay  for 
their  services  equal  to  that  which  other  laborers  get  for  theirs, 
and  to  secure  it  by  placing  their  products  and  works  on  the 
market  at  the  outset  at  prices  so  low  that  their  lines  of  busi- 
ness would  be  no  more  tempting  to  competitors  than  any 
other  lines. 

The  development  of  the  economic  programme  which  con- 
sists in  the  destruction  of  these  monopolies  and  the  substitu- 
tion for  them  of  the  freest  competition  led  its  authors  to  a 
perception  of  the  fact  that  all  their  thought  rested  upon  a 
very  fundamental  principle,  the  freedom  of  the  individual,  his 
right  of  sovereignty  over  himself,  his  products,  and  his  affairs, 
and  of  rebellion  against  the  dictation  of  external  authority. 
Just  as  the  idea  of  taking  capital  away  from  individuals  and 
giving  it  to  the  government  started  Marx  in  a  path  which 
ends  in  making  the  government  everything  and  the  individual 
nothing,  so  the  idea  of  taking  capital  away  from  government- 
protected  monopolies  and  putting  it  within  easy  reach  of  all 
individuals  started  Warren  and  Proudhon  in  a  path  which  ends 
in  making  the  individual  everything  and  the  government  noth- 
ing.    If  the  individual  has  a  right  to  govern  himself,  all  ex- 

14  iNSTEAt)    OF    A    BOOK. 

ternal  government  is  tyranny.  Hence  the  necessity  of 
abolishing  the  State.  This  was  the  logical  conclusion  to 
which  Warren  and  Proudhon  were  forced,  and  it  became  the 
fundamental  article  of  their  political  philosophy.  It  is  the 
doctrine  which  Proudhon  named  An-archism,  a  word  derived 
from  the  Greek,  and  meaning,  not  necessarily  absence  of 
order,  as  is  generally  supposed,  but  absence  of  rule.  The 
Anarchists  are  simply  unterrified  Jeffersonian  Democrats. 
They  believe  that  "  the  best  government  is  that  which  governs 
least,"  and  that  that  which  governs  least  is  no  government  at 
all.  Even  the  simple  poHce  function  of  protecting  person  and 
property  they  deny  to  governments  supported  by  compulsory 
taxation.  Protection  they  look  upon  as  a  thing  to  be  secured, 
as  long  as  it  is  necessary,  by  voluntary  association  and  coop- 
eration for  self-defence,  or  as  a  commodity  to  be  purchased, 
like  any  other  commodity,  of  those  who  offer  the  best  article 
at  the  lowest  price.  In  their  view  it  is  in  itself  an  invasion 
of  the  individual  to  compel  him  to  pay  for  or  suffer  a  pro- 
tection against  invasion  that  he  has  not  asked  for  and  does 
not  desire.  And  they  further  claim  that  protection  will  be- 
come a  drug  in  the  market,  after  poverty  and  consequently 
crime  have  disappeared  through  the  realization  of  their 
economic  programme.  Compulsory  taxation  is  to  them  the 
life-principle  of  all  the  monopolies,  and  passive,  but  organized, 
resistance  to  the  tax-collector  they  contemplate,  when  the 
proper  time  comes,  as  one  of  the  most  effective  methods  of 
accomplishing  their  purposes. 

Their  attitude  on  this  is  a  key  to  their  attitude  on  all  other 
questions  of  a  political  or  social  nature.  In  religion  they  are 
atheistic  as  far  as  their  own  opinions  are  concerned,  for  they 
look  upon  divine  authority  and  the  religious  sanction  of 
morality  as  the  chief  pretexts  put  forward  by  the  privileged 
classes  for  the  exercise  of  human  authority.  "  If  God  ex- 
ists," said  Proudhon,  "  he  is  man's  enemy."  And,  in  contrast 
to  Voltaire's  famous  epigram,  "  If  God  did  not  exist,  it  would 
be  necessary  to  invent  him,"  the  great  Russian  Nihilist, 
Michael  Bakounine,  placed  this  antithetical  proposition:  "If 
God  existed,  it  would  be  necessary  to  abolish  him."  But 
although,  viewing  the  divine  hierarchy  as  a  contradiction  of 
Anarchy,  they  do  not  believe  in  it,  the  Anarchists  none  the 
less  firmly  believe  in  the  liberty  to  believe  in  it.  Any  denial 
of  religious  freedom  they  squarely  oppose. 

Upholding  thus  the  right  of  every  individual  to  be  or  select 
his  own  priest,  they  likewise  uphold  his  right  to  be  or  select 
his  own  doctor.     No  monopoly  in  theology,  no  monopoly  in 


medicine.  Competition  everywhere  and  always  ;  spiritual 
advice  and  medical  advice  alike  to  stand  or  fall  on  their  own 
merits.  And  not  only  in  medicine,  but  in  hygiene,  must  this 
principle  of  liberty  be  followed.  The  individual  may  decide 
for  himself  not  only  what  to  do  to  get  well,  but  what  to  do  to 
^  keep  well.  No  external  power  must  dictate  to  him  what  he 
must  and  must  not  eat,  drink,  wear,  or  do. 

Nor  does  the  Anarchistic  scheme  furnish  any  code  of  morals 
to  be  imposed  upon  the  individual.  "  Mind  your  own  busi- 
ness "  is  its  only  moral  law.  Interference  with  another's  busi- 
ness is  a  crime  and  the  only  crime,  and  as  such  may  properly 
be  resisted.  In  accordance  with  this  view  the  Anarchists  look 
upon  attempts  to  arbitrarily  suppress  vice  as  in  themselves 
crimes.  They  believe  liberty  and  the  resultant  social  well- 
being  to  be  a  sure  cure  for  all  the  vices.  But  they  recognize 
the  right  of  the  drunkard,  the  gambler,  the  rake,  and  the 
harlot  to  live  their  lives  until  they  shall  freely  choose  to  abanr 
don  them. 

In  the  matter  of  the  maintenance  and  rearing  of  children 
the  Anarchists  would  neither  institute  the  communistic  nursery 
which  the  State  Socialists  favor  nor  keep  the  communistic 
school  system  which  now  prevails.  The  nurse  and  the  teacher, 
like  the  doctor  and  the  preacher,  must  be  selected  voluntarily, 
and  their  services  must  be  paid  for  by  those  who  patronize 
them.  Parental  rights  must  not  be  taken  away,  and  parental 
responsibilities  must  not  be  foisted  upon  others. 

'Even  in  so  delicate  a  matter  as  that  of  the  relations  of  the 
'sexes  the  Anarchists  do  not  shrink  from  the  application  of 
their  principle.  They  acknowledge  and  defend  the  right  of 
any  man  and  woman,  or  any  men  and  women,  to  love  each 
other  for  as  long  or  as  short  a  time  as  they  can,  will,  or  may. 
To  them  legal  marriage  and  legal  divorce  are  equal  absurdities. 
They  look  forward  to  a  time  when  every  individual,  whether 
man  or  woman,  shall  be  self-supporting,  and  when  each  shall 
have  an  independent  home  of  his  or  her  own,  whether  it  be  a 
separate  house  or  rooms  in  a  house  with  others;  when  the  love 
relations  between  these  independent  individuals  shall  be  as 
varied  as  are  individual  inclinations  and  attractions;  and  when 
\  the  children  born  of  these  relations  shall  belong  exclusively  to 
V_the  mothers  until  old  enough  to  belong  to  themselves. 

Such  are  the  main  features  of  the  Anarchistic  social  ideal. 
There  is  wide  difference  of  opinion  among  those  who  hold  it 
as  to  the  best  method  of  obtaining  it.  Time  forbids  the 
treatment  of  that  phase  of  the  subject  here.  I  will  simply 
call  attention  to  the  fact  that  it  is  an  ideal  utterly  inconsistent 

10  iKfSTEAb  O^   A   bo6k. 

with  that  of  those  Communists  who  falsely  call  themselves 
Anarchists  while  at  the  same  time  advocating  a  regime  of 
Archism  fully  as  despotic  as  that  of  the  State  Socialists  them- 
selves. And  it  is  an  ideal  that  can  be  as  little  advanced  by 
the  forcible  expropriation  recommended  by  John  Most  and 
Prince  Kropotkine  as  retarded  by  the  brooms  of  those  Mrs. 
Partingtons  of  the  bench  who  sentence  them  to  prison;  an 
ideal  which  the  martyrs  of  Chicago  did  far  more  to  help  by 
their  glorious  death  upon  the  gallows  for  the  common  cause 
of  Socialism  than  by  their  unfortunate  advocacy  during  their 
lives,  in  the  name  of  Anarchism,  of  force  as  a  revolutionary 
agent  and  authority  as  a  safeguard  of  the  new  social  order. 
The  Anarchists  believe  in  liberty  both  as  end  and  means,  and 
are  hostile  to  anything  that  antagonizes  it. 

I  should  not  undertake  to  summarize  this  altogether  too 
summary  exposition  of  Socialism  from  the  standpoint  of  Anar- 
chism, did  I  not  find  the  task  already  accomplished  for  me  by 
a  brilliant  French  journalist  and  historian,  Ernest  Lesigne,  in 
the  form  of  a  series  of  crisp  antitheses;  by  reading  which  to 
you  as  a  conclusion  of  this  lecture  I  hope  to  deepen  the  im- 
pression which  it  has  been  my  endeavor  to  make. 

"  There  are  two  Socialisms. 

"  One  is  communistic,  the  other  solidaritarian. 

"  One  is  dictatorial,  the  other  libertarian. 

"  One  is  metaphysical,  the  other  positive. 

"  One  is  dogmatic,  the  other  scientific. 

"  One  is  emotional,  the  other  reflective. 

"  One  is  destructive,  the  other  constructive. 

"  Both  are  in  pursuit  of  the  greatest  possible  welfare  for 

"  One  aims  to  establish  happiness  for  all,  the  other  to  enable 
each  to  be, happy  in  his  own  way. 

"  The  first  regards  the  State  as  a  society  siii  generis,  of  an 
especial  essence,  the  product  of  a  sort  of  divine  right  outside 
of  and  above  all  society,  with  special  rights  and  able  to  exact 
special  obediences;  the  second  considers  the  State  as  an  asso- 
ciation like  any  other,  generally  managed  worse  than  others. 

"  The  first  proclaims  the  sovereignty  of  the  State,  the  second 
recognizes  no  sort  of  sovereign. 

"One  wishes  all  monopolies  to  be  held  by  the  State;  the 
other  wishes  the  abolition  of  all  monopolies. 

"  One  wishes  the  governed  class  to  become  the  governing 
class  ;  the  other  wishes  the  disappearance  of  classes. 

"  Both  declare  that  the  existing  state  of  things  cannot  last. 

"  The  first  considers  revolution  as  the  indispensable  agent  of 


evolution  ;  the  second  teaches  that  repression  alone  turns  evo- 
lution into  revolution. 

"  The  first  has  faith  in  a  cataclysm. 

"  The  second  knows  that  social  progress  will  result  from  the 
free  play  of  individual  efforts. 

"  Both  understand  that  we  are  entering  upon  a  new  historic 

"  One  wishes  that  there  should  be  none  but  proletaires. 

"  The  other  wishes  that  there  should  be  no  more  proletaires. 

"  The  first  wishes  to  take  everything  from  everybody. 

"  The  second  wishes  to  leave  each  in  possession  of  his  own. 

"  The  one  wishes  to  expropriate  everybody. 

"  The  other  wishes  everybody  to  be  a  proprietor. 

'■  The  first  says  :  '  Do  as  the  government  wishes.' 

"  The  second  says  :  '  Do  as  you  wish  yourself.' 

"  The  former  threatens  with  despotism. 

"  The  latter  promises  liberty. 

"  The  former  majies  the  citizen  the  subject  of  the  State. 

"  The  latter  makes  the  State  the  employee  of  the  citizen. 

"  One  proclaims  that  labor  pains  will  be  necessary  to  the 
birth  of  the  new  world. 

"  The  other  declares  that  real  progress  will  not  cause  suffer- 
ing to  any  one. 

"  The  first  has  confidence  in  social  war. 

"  The  other  believes  only  in  the  works  of  peace. 

"  One  aspires  to  compiand,  to  regulate,  to  legislate. 

"  The  other  wishes  to  attain  the  minimum  of  command,  of 
regulation,  of  legislation. 

"  One  would  be  followed  by  the  most  atrocious  of  reactions. 

"  The  other  opens  unlimited  horizons  to  progress. 

"  The  first  will  fail;  the  other  will  succeed. 

"  Both  desire  equality. 

"  One  by  lowering  heads  that  are  too  high. 

"  The  other  by  raising  heads  that  are  too  low. 

"  One  sees  equality  under  a  common  yoke. 

"  The  other  will  secure  equality  in  complete  liberty. 

"  One  is  intolerant,  the  other  tolerant. 

"  One  frightens,  the  other  reassures. 

"  The  first  wishes  to  instruct  everybody. 

"  The  second  wishes  to  enable  everybody  to  instruct  himself. 

"  The  first  wishes  to  support  everybody. 

"  The  second  wishes  to  enable  everybody  to  support  himself. 

"  One  says  : 

"  The  land  to  the  State. 

"  The  mine  to  the  State. 

1 8  ■',  iMSTEAfi  OP  A  fi002. 

"The  tool  to  the  State. 

"  The  product  to  the  State. 

■'  The  other  says: 

"  The  land  to  the  cultivator. 

"  The  mine  to  the  miner. 

"  The  tool  to  the  laborer. 

"  The  product  to  the  producer. 

"  There  are  only  these  two  Socialisms. 

"  One  is  the  infancy  of  Socialism;  the  other  is  its  manhood. 

"  One  is  already  the  past;  the  other  is  the  future. 

"  One  will  give  place  to  the  other. 

"  To-day  each  of  us  must  choose  for  one  or  the  ether  of 
these  two  Socialisms,  or  else  confess  that  he  is  not  a  So- 



[Liieriy,  November  15,  1890.] 

Ladies  and  Gentlemen: — Presumably  the  honor  which  you 
have  done  me  in  inviting  me  to  address  you  to-day  upon  "  The 
Relation  of  the  State  to  the  Individual"  is  due  principally  to  the 
fact  that  circumstances  have  combined  to  make  me  somewhat 
conspicuous  as  an  exponent  of  the  theory  of  Modern  Anarchism, 
— a  theory  which  is  coming  to  be  more  and  more  regarded  as 
one  of  the  few  that  are  tenable  as  a  basis  of  political  and  social 
life.  In  its  name,  then,  I  shall  speak  to  you  in  discussing  this 
question,  which  either  underlies  or  closely  touches  almost  every 
practical  problem  that  confronts  this  generation.  The  future 
of  the  tariff,  of  taxation,  of  finance,  of  property,  of  woman,  of 
marriage,  of  the  family,  of  the  suffrage,  of  education,  of  inven- 
tion, of  literature,  of  science,  of  the  arts,  of  personal  habits,  of 
private  character,  of  ethics,  of  religion,  will  be  determined  by 
the  conclusion  at  which  mankind-  shall  arrive  as  to  whether 
and  how  far  the  individual  owes  allegiance  to  the  State. 

Anarchism,  in  dealing  with  this  subject,  has  found  it  neces- 
sary, first  of  all,  to  define  its  terms.  Popular  conceptions  of 
the  terminology  of  politics  are  incompatible  with  the  rigor- 
ous exactness  required  in  scientific  investigation.  To  be 
sure,  a  departure  from  the  popular  use  of  language  is  accom- 
panied by  the  risk  of  misconception  by  the  multitude,  who  per- 
sistently ignore  the  new  definitions;  but,  on  the  other  hand, 
conformity  thereto  is  attended  by  the  still  more  deplorable  al- 
ternative of  confusion  in  the  eyes  of  the  competent,  who  would 
be  justified  in  attributing  inexactness  of  thought  where  there  is 
inexactness  of  expression.  Take  the  term  "State,"  for  instance, 
with  which  we  are  especially  concerned  to-day.     It  is  a  word 

*  An  address  delivered  before  the  Unitarian  Ministers'  Institute,  at  tlie 
annual  session  held  in  Salem,  Mass.,  October  14,  i8go,  at  which  ad- 
dresses on  the  same  subject  were  also  delivered  by  Rev.  W.  D.  P.  Bliss, 
from  the  standpoint  of  Christian  Socialism,  and  President  E.  Benjamin 
Andrews,  of  Brown  University,  from  the  standpoint  of  State  regulation. 

22  INSTEAD   OF    A    BOOK. 

that  is  on  every  lip.  But  how  many  of  those  who  use  it  have 
any  idea  of  what  they  mean  by  it?  And,  of  the  few  who  have, 
how  various  are  their  conceptions!  We  designate  by  the  term 
"  State  "  institutions  that  embody  absolutism  in  its  extreme 
form  and  institutions  that  temper  it  with  more  or  less  liberality. 
We  apply  the  word  alike  to  institutions  that  do  nothing  but 
aggress  and  to  institutions  that,  besides  aggressing,  to  some  ex- 
tent protect  and  defend.  •  But  which  is  the  State's  essential 
function,  aggression  or  defence,  few  seem  to  know  or  care. 
Some  champions  of  the  State  evidently  consider  aggression  its 
principle,  although  they  disguise  it  alike  from  themselves  and 
from  the  people  under  the  term  "  administration,"  which  they 
wish  to  extend  in  every  possible  direction.  Others,  on  the  con- 
trary, consider  defence  its  principle,  and  wish  to  limit  it  ac- 
cordingly to  the  performance  of  police  duties.  Still  others 
seem  to  think  that  it  exists  for  both  aggression  and  defence, 
combined  in  varying  proportions  according  to  the  momentary 
interests,  or  maybe  only  whims,  of  those  happening  to  control 
it.  Brought  face  to  face  with  these  diverse  views,  the  Anar- 
chists, whose  mission  in  the  world  is  the  abolition  of  aggression 
and  all  the  evils  that  result  therefrom,  perceived  that,  to  be 
understood,  they  must  attach  some  definite  and  avowed  sig- 
nificance to  the  terms  which  they  are  obliged  to  employ,  and  es- 
pecially to  the  words  "  State  "  and  "  government."  Seeking, 
then,  the  elements  common  to  all  the  institutions  to  which  the 
name  "  State  "  has-been  applied,  they  have  found  them  two  in 
number:  first,  aggression;  second,  the  assumption  of  sole  au- 
thority over  a  given  area  and  all  within  it,  exercised  generally 
for  the  double  purpose  of  more  complete  oppression  of  its  sub- 
jects and  extension  of  its  boundaries.  That  this  second  ele- 
ment is  common  to  all  States,  I  think,  will  not  be  denied, — at 
least,  I  am  not  aware  that  any  State  has  ever  tolerated  a  rival 
State  within  its  borders;  and  it  seems  plain  that  any  State 
which  should  do  so  would  thereby  cease  to  be  a  State  and  to  be 
considered  as  such  by  any.  The  exercise  of  authority  over^ 
the  same  area  by  two  States  is  a  contradiction.  That  the  first 
element,  aggression,  has  been  and  is  common  to  all  States  will 
probably  be  less  generally  admitted.  Nevertheless,  I  shall  not 
attempt  to  re-enforce  here  the  conclusion  of  Spencer,  which  is 
gaining  wider  acceptance  daily, — that  the  State  had  its  origin 
in  aggression,  and  has  continued  as  an  aggressive  institution 
from  its  birth.  Defence  was  an  afterthought,  prompted  by  ne- 
cessity; and  Its  introduction  as  a  State  function,  though  effected 
doubtless  with  a  view  to  the  strengthening  of  the  State,  was 
really  and  in  principle  the  initiation  of  the  State's  destruction. 


Its  growth  in  importance  is  but  an  evidence  of  the  tendency  of 
progress  toward  the  abolition  of  the  State.     Taking  this  view 
of  the  matter,  the  Anarchists  contend  that  defence  is  not  an 
essential  of  the  State,  but  that  aggression  is.     Now  what  is  ag- 
gression?    Aggression  is  simply  another  name  for  government. 
Aggression,  invasion,  government,  are  interconvertible  terms. 
The  essence  of  government  is  control,  or  the  attempt  to  con- 
trol.    He  who  attempts  to  control  another  is  a  governor,  an 
aggressor,  an  invader;  and  the  nature  of  such  invasion  is  not 
changed,  whether  it  is  made  by  one  man  upon  another  man,  after 
the  manner  of  the  ordinary  criminal,  or  by  one  man  upon  all 
other  men,  after  the  manner  of  an  absolute  monarch,  or  by  all 
other  men  upon  one  man,  after  the  manner  of  a  modern  de- 
mocracy.    On    the  other  hand,  he  who  resists    another's  at- 
tempt to  control  is  not  an  aggressor,  an  invader,  a  governor, 
but  simply  a  defender,  a  protector;  and  the  nature  of  such  re- 
sistance is  not  changed  whether  it  be  offered  by  one  man  to  an- 
other man,  as  when  one  repels  a  criminal's  onslaught,  or  by  one 
man  to  all  other  men,  as  when  one  declines  to  obey  an  oppres- 
sive law,  or  by  all  other  men  to  one  man,  as  when  a  subject 
people  rises  against  a  despot,  or  as  when  the  members  of  a 
community  voluntarily  unite  to  restrain  a  criminal.     This  dis- 
tinction between  invasion  and  resistance,  between  government 
and  defence,  is  vital.     Without  it  there  can  be  no  valid  philos- 
ophy of  politics.     Upon  this  distinction  and  the  other  consid- 
erations just  outlined,  the  Anarchists  frame  the  desired  defini- 
tions.    This,  then,  is  the  Anarchistic  definition  of  government: 
the  subjection  of  the  non-invasive  individual  to  an  external 
will.     And  this  is  the  Anarchistic  definition  of  the  State:  the 
embodiment  of  the  principle  of  invasion  in  an  indi^^dual,  or  a 
band  of  individuals,  assuming  to    act  as   representatives  or 
masters  of  the  entire  people  within  a  given  area.     As  to  the 
meaning  of  the  remaining  term  in  the  subject  under  discus- 
sion, the  word  "  individual,"  I  think  there  is  little  difficulty. 
Putting  aside  the  subtleties  in  which  certain  metaphysicians 
have  indulged,  one  may  use  this  word  without  danger  of  being 
misunderstood.     Whether  the  definitions  thus  arrived  at  prove 
generally  acceptable  or  not  is  a  matter  of  minor  consequence. 
I  submit  that  they  are  reached  scientifically,  and  serve  the 
purpose  of  a  clear  conveyance  of  thought.     The  Anarchists, 
having  by  their  adoption  taken  due  care  to'  be  explicit,  are  en- 
titled to  have  their  ideas  judged  in  the  light  of  these  defini- 

Now  comes  the  question  proper  :    What  relations  should 
exist  between  the   State  and  the  individual  ?      The  general 

24  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

method  of  determining  these  is  to  apply  some  theory  of  ethics 
involving  a  basis  of  moral  obligation.  In  this  method  the 
Anarchists  have  no  confidence.  The  idea  of  moral  obliga- 
tion, of  inherent  rights  and  duties,  they  totally  discard. 
They  look  upon  all  obligations,  not  as  moral,  but  as  social, 
and  even  then  not  really  as  obligations  except  as  these  have 
been  consciously  and  voluntarily  assumed.  If  a  man  makes 
an  agreement  with  men,  the  latter  may  combine  to  hold  him 
to  his  agreement  ;  but,  in  the  absence  of  such  agreement,  no 
man,  so  far  as  the  Anarchists  are  aware,  has  made  any  agree- 
ment with  God  or  with  any  other  power  of  any  order  what- 
soever. The  Anarchists  are  not  only  utilitarians,  but  egoists 
in  the  farthest  and  fullest  sense.  So  far  as  inherent  right  is 
concerned,  might  is  its  only  measure.  Any  man,  be  his  name 
Bill  Sykes  or  Alexander  Romanoff,  and  any  set  of  men, 
whether  the  Chinese  highbinders  or  the  Congress  of  the 
United  States,  have  the  right,  if  they  have  the  power,  to  kill 
or  coerce  other  men  and  to  make  the  entire  world  subservient 
to  their  ends.  Society's  right  to  enslave  the  individual  and 
the  individual's  right  to  enslave  society  are  unequal  only  be- 
cause their  powers  are  unequal.  This  position  being  sub- 
versive of  all  systems  of  religion  and  morality,  of  course  I 
cannot  expect  to  win  immediate  assent  thereto  from  the  audi- 
ence which  I  am  addressing  to-day;  nor  does  the  time  at  my 
disposal  allow  me  to  sustain  it  by  an  elaborate,  or  even  a  sum- 
mary, examination  of  the  foundations  of  ethics.  Those  who 
desire  a  greater  familiarity  with  this  particular  phase  of  the 
subject  should  read  a,  profound  German  work,  "  Der  Einzige 
und  sein  Eigenthum"  written  years  ago  by  a  comparatively  un- 
known author.  Dr.  Caspar  Schmidt,  whose  nom  de  plume  was 
Max  Stirner.  Read  only  by  a  few  scholars,  the  book  is  buried 
in  obscurity,  "but  is  destined  to  a  resurrection  that  perhaps 
will  mark  an  epoch. 

If  this,  then,  were  a  question  of  right,  it  would  be,  accord- 
ing to  the  Anarchists,  purely  a  question  of  strength.  But, 
fortunately,  it  is  not  a  question  of  right  :  it  is  a  question  of 
expediency,  of  knowledge,  of  science, — the  science  of  living 
together,  the  science  of  society.  The  history  of  humanity 
has  been  largely  one  long  and  gradual  discovery  of  the  fact 
that  the  individual  is  the  gainer  by  society  exactly  in  propor- 
tion as  society  is  free,  and  of  the  law  that  the  condition  of  a 
permanent  and  harmonious  society  is  the  greatest  amount  of 
individual  liberty  compatible  with  equality  of  liberty.  The 
average  man  of  each  new  generation  has  said  to  himself  more 
clearly  and  consciously  than  his  predecessor  :    "  My  neighbor 


is  not  my  enemy,  but  my  friend,  and  I  am  his,  if  we  would 
but  mutually  recognize  the  fact.  We  help  each  other  to  a 
better,  fuller,  happier  living  ;  and  this  service  might  be  greatly 
increased  if  we  would  cease  to  restrict,  hamper,  and  oppress 
each  other.  Why  can  we  not  agree  to  let  each  live  his  own 
life,neither  of  us  transgressing  the  limit  that  separates  our  in- 
dividualities ? "  It  is  by  this  reasoning  that  mankind  is  ap- 
proaching the  real  social  contract,  which  is  not,  as  Rousseau 
thought,  the  origin  of  society,  but  rather  the  outcome  of  a  long 
social  experience,  the  fruit  of  its  follies  and  disasters.  It  is 
obvious  that  this  contract,  this  social  law,  developed  to  its 
perfection,  excludes  all  aggression,  all  violation  of  equality  of 
liberty,  all  invasion  of  every  kind.  Considering  this  contract 
in  connection  with  the  Anarchistic  definition  of  the  State  as 
the  embodiment  of  the  principle  of  invasion,  we  see  that  the 
State  is  antagonistic  to  society  ;  and,  society  being  essential  to 
individual  life  and  development,  the  conclusion  leaps  to  the 
eyes  that  the  relation  of  the  State  to  the  individual  and  of  the 
individual  to  the  State  must  be  one  of  hostility,  enduring  till 
the  State  shall  perish. 

"  But,"  it  will  be  asked  of  the  Anarchists  at  this  point  in 
the  argument, "  what  shall  be  done  with  those  individuals  who 
undoubtedly  will  persist  in  violating  the  social  law  by  invading 
their  neighbors  ?  "  The  Anarchists  answer  that  the  abolition 
of  the  State  will  leave  in  existence  a  defensive  association,  rest- 
ing no  longer  on  a  compulsory  but  on  a  voluntary  basis,  which 
will  restrain  invaders  by  any  means  that  may  prove  necessary. 
"  But  that  is  what  we  have  now,"  is  the  rejoinder;.  "  You  really 
want,  then,  only  a  change  of  name  ? "  Not  so  fast,  please. 
Can  it  be  soberly  pretended  for  a  moment  that  the  State,  even 
as  it  exists  here  in  America,  is  purely  a  defensive  institution  ? 
Surely  not,  save  by  those  who  see  of  the  State  only  its  most 
palpable  manifestation, — the  policeman  on  the  street-corner. 
And  one  would  not  have  to  watch  him  very  closely  to  see  the 
error  of  this  claim.  Why,  the  very  first  act  of  the  State,  the 
compulsory  assessment  and  collection  of  taxes,  is  itself  an  ag- 
gression, a  violation  of  equal  liberty,  and,  as  such,  vitiates 
evary  subsequent  act,  even  those  acts  which  would  be  purely 
defensive  if  paid  for  out  of  a  treasury  filled  by  voluntary  con- 
tributions. How  is  it  possible  to  sanction,  under  the  law  of 
equal  liberty,  the  confiscation  of  a  man's  earnings  to  pay  for 
protection  which  he  has  not  sought  and  does  not  desire  ?  And, 
if  this  is  an  outrage,  what  name  shall  we  give  to  such  confisca- 
tion when  the  victim  is  given,  instead  of  bread,  a  stone,  in- 
stead of  protection,  oppression  ?      To  force  a  man  to  pay  for 

26  .  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

the  violation  of  his  own  liberty  is  indeed  an  addition  of  insult 
to  injury.  But  that  is  exactly  what  the  State  is  doing.  Read 
the  "  Congressional  Record  ";  follow  the  proceedings  of  the 
State  legislatures  ;  examine  our  statute-books ;  test  each  act 
separately  by  the  law  of  equal  liberty, — you  will  find  that  a 
good  nine-tenths  of  existing  legislation  serves,  not  to  enforce 
that  fundamental  social  law,  but  either  to  prescribe  the  indi- 
vidual's personal  habits,  or,  worse  still,  to  create  and  sustain 
commercial,  industrial,  financial,  and  proprietary  monopolies 
which  deprive  labor  of  a  large  part  of  the  reward  that  it 
would  receive  in  a  perfectly  free  market.  "  To  be  governed," 
-ys^  Proudhon,  "  is  to  be  watched,  inspected,  spied,  directed, 
Taw-fiHden,  regulated,  penned  up,  indoctrinated,  preached  at, 
checked,  appraised,  sized,  censured,  commanded,  by  beings 
who  have  neither  title  nor  knowledge  nor  virtue.  To  be  gov- 
erned is  to  have  every  operation,  every  transaction,  every 
movement  noted,  registered,  counted,  rated,  stamped,  meas- 
ured, numbered,  assessed,  licensed,  refused,  authorized,  in- 
dorsed, admonished,  prevented,  reformed,  redressed,  corrected. 
To  be  governed  is,  under  pretext  of  public  utility  and  in  the 
name  of  the  general  interest,  to  be  laid  under  contribution, 
drilled,  fleeced,  exploited,  monopolized,  extorted  from,  ex- 
hausted, hoaxed,  robbed  ;  then,  upon  the  slightest  resistance, 
at  the  first  word  of  complaint,  to  be  repressed,  fined,  vilified, 
annoyed,  hunted  down,  pulled  about,  beaten,  disarmed,  bound, 
imprisoned,  shot,  mitrailleused,  judged,  condemned,  banished, 
sacrificed,  sold,  betrayed,  and,  to  crown  all,  ridiculed,  derided, 
outraged,  dishonored.^  And  I  am  sure  I  do  not  need  to 
-poirrt  ■ouits^ou  the  existing  laws  that  correspond  to  and  jus- 
tify nearly  every  count  in  Proudhon's  long  indictment.  How 
thoughtless,  then,  to  assert  that  the  existing  political  order  is 
of  a  purely  defensive  character  instead  of  the  aggressive  State 
which  the  Anarchists  aim  to  abolish  ! 

This  leads  to  another  consideration  that  bears  powerfully 
upon  the  problem  of  the  invasive  individual,  who  is  such  a 
bugbear  to  the  opponents  of  Anarchism.  Is  it  not  such  treat- 
ment as  has  just  been  described  that  is  largely  responsible  for 
his  existence  ?  I  have  heard  or  read  somewhere  of  an  inserip- 
tion  written  for  a  certain  charitable  institution: 

(       "  This  hospital  a  pious  person  built, 

I       But  first  he  made  the  poor  wherewith  to  fiU't." 

And  SO,  it  seems  to  me,  it  is  with  our  prisons.  They  are 
filled  with  criminals  which  our  virtuous  State  has  rnade  what 


they  are  by  its  iniquitous  laws,  its  grinding  monopolies,  and 
the  horrible  social  conditions  that  result  from  them.  We 
enact  many  laws  that  manufacture  criminals,  and  then  a  few 
that  punish  them.  Is  it  too  much  to  expect  that  the  new 
social  conditions  which  must  follow  the  abolition  of  all  inter- 
ference with  the  production  and  distribution  of  wealth  will  in 
the  end  so  change  the  habits  and  propensities  of  men  that  our 
jails  and  prisons,  our  policemen  and  our  soldiers, — in  a  word, 
our  whole  machinery  and  outfit  of  defence, — will  be  superflu- 
ous ?  That,  at  least,  is  the  Anarchists'  belief.  It  sounds 
Utopian,''but  it  really  rests  on  severely  economic  grounds. 
To-day,  however,  time  is  lacking  to  explain  the  Anarchistic 
view  of  the  dependence  of  usury,  and  therefore  of  poverty, 
upon  monopolistic  privilege,  especially  the  banking  privilege, 
and  to  show  how  an  intelligent  minority,  educated  in  the  prin- 
ciple of  Anarchism  and  determined  to  exercise  that  right  to  ig- 
nore the  State  upon  which  Spencer,  in  his  "  Social  Statics,"  so 
ably  and  admirably  insists,  might,  by  setting  at  defiance  the 
National  and  State  banking  prohibitions,  and  establishing  a 
Mutual  Bank  in  competition  with  the  existing  monopolies,  take 
the  first  and  most  important  step  in  the  abolition  of  usury  and 
of  the  State.  Simple  as  such  a  step  would  seem,  from  it  all 
the  rest  would  follow. 

A  half-hour  is  a  very  short  time  in,  which  to  discuss  the 
relation  of  the  State  to  the  individual,  and  I  must  ask  your 
pardon  for  the  brevity  of  my  dealing  with  a  succession  of  con- 
siderations each  of  which  needs  an  entire  essay  for  its  devel- 
opment. If  I  have  outlined  the  argument  intelligibly,  I 
have  accomplished  all  that  I  expected.  But,  in  the  hope  of  im- 
pressing the  idea  of  the  true  social  contract  more  vividly  upon 
your  minds,  in  conclusion  I  shall  take  the  liberty  of  reading 
another  page  from  Proudhon,  to  whom  I  am  indebted  for 
most  of  what  I  know,  or  think  I  know,  upon  this  subject. 
Contrasting  authority  with  free  contract,  he  says,  in  his  "  Gen- 
eral Idea  of  the  Revolution  of  the  Nineteenth  Century  "  :  — 

"  Of  ths  distance  that  separates  these  two  regimes,  we  may 
judge  by  the  difference  in  their  styles. 

"  One  of  the  most  solemn  moments  in  the  evolution  of 
the  principle  of  authority  is  that  of  the  promulgation  of  the 
Decalogue.  The  voice  of  the  angel  commands  the  People, 
prostrate  at  the  foot  of  Sinai: — 

"Thou  shalt  worship  the  Eternal,  and  only  the  Eternal. 

"  Thou  shalt  swear  only  by  him. 

"  Thou  shalt  keep  his  holidays,  and  thou  shalt  pay  his 
tithes.  I 

28  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

"  Thou  Shalt  honor  thy  father  and  thy  mother. 

"  Thou  Shalt  not  kill. 

"  Thou  shalt  not  steal. 

"  Thou  shalt  not  commit  adultery. 

"  Thou  shalt  not  bear  false  witness. 

"  Thou  shalt  not  covet  or  calumniate. 

"  For  the  Eternal  ordains  it,  and  it  is  the  Eternal  who  has 
made  you  what  you  are.  The  Eternal  is  alone  sovereign, 
alone  wise,  alone  worthy;  the  Eternal  punishes  and  rewards. 
It  is  in  the  power  of  the  Eternal  to  render  you  happy  or 
unhappy  at  his  will. 

"  All  legislations  have  adopted  this  style;  all,  speaking  to 
man,  employ  the  sovereign  formula.  The  Hebrew  commands 
in  the  future,  the  Latin  in  the  imperative,  the  Greek  in  the 
infinitive.  The  moderns  do  not  otherwise.  The  tribune  of 
the  parliament-house  is  a  Sinai  as  infallible  and  as  terrible  as 
that  of  Moses;  whatever  the  law  may  be,  from  whatever  lips 
it  may  come,  it  is  sacred  once  it  has  been  proclaimed  by  that 
prophetic  trumpet,  which  with  us  is  the  majority. 

"  Thou  shalt  not  assemble. 

"  Thou  shalt  not  print. 

"  Thou  shalt  not  read. 

"  Thou  shalt  respect  thy  representatives  and  thy  ofificials, 
which  the  hazard  of  the  ballot  or  the  good  pleasure  of  the 
State  shall  have  given  you. 

"  Thou  shalt  obey  the  laws  which  they  in  their  wisdom  shall 
have  made. 

"  Thou  shalt  pay  thy  taxes  faithfully. 

"And  thou  shalt  love  the  Government,  thy  Lord  and  thy 
God,  with  all  thy  heart  and  with  all  thy  soul  and  with  all 
thy  mind,  because  the  Government  knows  better  than  thou 
what  thou  art,  what  thou  art  worth,  what  is  good  for  thee, 
and  because  it  has  the  power  to  chastise  those  who  disobey  its 
commandments,  as  well  as  to  reward  unto  the  fourth  genera- 
tion those  who  make  themselves  agreeable  to  it. 

"  With  the  Revolution  it  is  quite  different. 

"  The  search  for  first  causes  and  for  final  causes  is  elimi- 
nated from  economic  science  as  from  the  natural  sciences. 

"  The  idea  of  Progress  replaces,  in  philosophy,  that  of  the 

"  Revolution  succeeds  Revelation. 

"  Reason,  assisted  by  Experience,  discloses  to  man  the  laws 
of  Nature  and  Society;  then  it  says  to  him: — 

"  These  laws  are  those  of  necessity  itself.  No  man  has 
made  them;  no  man  imposes  them  upon  you.     They  have  been 


gradually  discovered,  and  I  exist  only  to  bear  testimony  to 

"  If  you  observe  them,  you  will  be  just  and  good. 

"  If  you  violate  them,  you  will  be  unjust  and  wicked. 

"  I  offer  you  no  other  motive. 

"  Already,  among  your  fellows,  several  have  recognized  that 
justice  is  better,  for  each  and  for  all,  than  iniquity;  and  they 
have  agreed  with  each  other  to  mutually  keep  faith  and  right, — 
that  is,  to  respect  the  rules  of  transaction  which  the  nature 
of  things  indicates  to  them  as  alone  capable  of  assuring  them, 
in  the  largest  measure,  well-being,  security,  peace. 

"  Do  you  wish  to  adhere  to  their  compact,  to  form  a  part  of 
their  society  ? 

"  Do  you  promise  to  respect  the  honor,  the  liberty,  and  the 
goods  of  your  brothers  ? 

"  Do  you  promise  never  to  appropriate,  either  by  violence, 
or  by  fraud,  or  by  usury,  or  by  speculation,  the  product  or  the 
possession  of  another  ? 

"  Do  you  promise  never  to  lie  and  deceive,  either  in  justice, 
or  in  business,  or  in  any  of  your  transactions  ? 

"  You  are  free  to  "accept  or  to  refuse. 

"  If  you  refuse,  you  become  a  part  of  the  society  of  savages. 
Outside  of  the  communion  of  the  human  race,  you  become 
an  object  of  suspicion.  Nothing  protects  you.  At  the  slight- 
est insult,  the  first  comer  may  lift  his  hand  against  you  without 
incurring  any  other  accusation  than  that  of  cruelty  needlessly 
practised  upon  a  brute. 

"  On  the  contrary,  if  you  swear  to  the  compact,  you  become 
a  part  of  the  society  of  free  men.  All  your  brothers  enter 
into  an  engagement  with  you,  promise  you  fidelity,  friendship, 
aid,  service,  exchange.  In  case  of  infraction,  on  their  part  or 
on  yours,  through  negligence,  passion,  or  malice,  you  are  re- 
sponsible to  each  other  for  the  damage  as  well  as  the  scandal 
and  the  insecurity  of  which  you  have  been  the  cause  :  this  re- 
sponsibility may  extend,  according  to  the  gravity  of  the  perjury 
or  the  repetitions  of  the  offence,  even  to  excommunication  and 
to  death. 

"The  law  is  clear,  the  sanction  still  more  so.  Three  arti- 
cles, which  make  but  one, — that  is  the  whole  social  contract. 
Instead  of  making  oath  to  God  and  his  prince,  the  citizen 
swears  upon  his  conscience,  before  his  brothers,  and  before 
Humanity.  Between  these  two  oaths  there  is  the  same  differ- 
ence as  between  slavery  and  liberty,  faith  and  science,  courts 
and  justice,  usury  and  labor,  government  and  economy,  non- 
existence and  being,  God  and  man." 

30  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 


[Liierty,  August  6,  1881.] 

Liberty  enters  the  field  of  journalism  to  speak  for  herself 
because  she  finds  no  one  willing  to  speak  for  her.  She  hears 
no  voice  that  always  champions  her  ;  she  knows  no  pen  that 
always  writes  in  her  defence  ;  she  sees  no  hand  that  is  always 
lifted  to  avenge  her  wrongs  or  vindicate  her  rights.  Many 
claim  to  speak  in  her  name,  but  few  really  understand  her. 
Still  fewer  have  the  courage  and  the  opportunity  to  consist- 
ently fight  for  her.  Her  battle,  then,  is  her  own  to  wage  and 
win.     She  accepts  it  fearlessly  and  with  a  determined  spirit. 

Her  foe,  Authority,  takes  many  shapes,  but,  broadly  speak- 
ing, her  enemies  divide  themselves  into  three  classes  :  first, 
those  who  abhor  her  both  as  a  means  and  as  an  end  of  progress, 
opposing  her  openly,  avowedly,  sincerely,  consistently,  univer- 
sally ;  second,  those  who  profess  to  believe  in  her  as  a  means 
of  progress,  but  who  accept  her  only  so  far.  as  they  think  she 
will  subserve  their  own  selfish  interests,  denying  her  and  her 
blessings  to  the  rest  of  the  world  ;  third,  those  who  distrust 
her  as  a  means  of  progress,  believing  in  her  only  as  an  end  to 
be  obtained  by  first  trampling  upon,  violating,  and  outraging 
her.  These  three  phases  of  opposition  to  Liberty  are  met  in 
almost  every  sphere  of  thought  and  human  activity.  Good 
representatives  of  the  first  are  seen  in  the  Catholic  Church 
and  the  Russian  autocracy  ;  of  the  second,  in  the  Protestant 
Church  and  the  Manchester  school  of  politics  and  political 
economy  ;  of  the  third,  in  the  atheism  of  Gambetta  and  the 
socialism  of  Karl  Marx. 

Through  these  forms  of  authority  another  line  of  demarca- 
tion runs  transversely,  separating  the  divine  from  the  human  ; 
or,  better  still,  the  religious  from  the  secular.  Liberty's  vic- 
tory over  the  former  is  well-nigh  achieved.  Last  century  Vol- 
taire brought  the  authority  of  the  supernatural  into  dis- 
repute. The  Church  has  been  declining  ever  since.  Her  teeth 
are  drawn,  and  though  she  seems  still  to  show  here  and 
there  vigorous  signs  of  life,  she  does  so  in  the  violence 
of  the  death-agony  upon  her,  and  soon  her  power  will 
be  felt  no  more.  It  is  human  authority  that  hereafter 
is  to  be  dreaded,  and  the  State,  its  organ,  that  in  the  future 
is   to  be  feared.     Those  who  have  lost  their  faith  in    gods 

*  Liberty's  salutatory. 


only  to  put  it  in  governments  ;  those  who  have  ceased  to  be 
Church-worshippers  only  to  become  State-worshippers  ;  those 
who  have  abandoned  pope  for  king  or  czar,  and  priest  for  pres- 
ident or  parliament, — have  indeed  changed  their  battle-ground, 
but  none  the  less  are  foes  of  Liberty  still.  The  Church  has 
become^an  object  of  derision  ;  the  State  must  be  made  equally 
so.  The  State  is  said  by  some  to  be  a  "  necessary  evil "  ;  it 
must  be  made  unnecessary.  This  century's  battle,  then,  is 
with  the  State  :  the  State,  that  debases  man ;  the  State,  that 
prostitutes  woman  ;  the  State,  that  corrupts  children  ;  the  State, 
that  trammels  love  ;  the  State,  that  stifles  thought ;  the  State, 
that  monopolizes  land  ;  the  State,  that  limits  credit  ;  the 
State,  that  restricts  exchange  ;  the  State,  that  gives  idle  capital 
the  power  of  increase,  and,  through  interest,  rent,  profit,  and 
taxes,  robs  industrious  labor  of  its  products. 

How  the  State  does  these  things,  and  how  it  can  be  pre- 
vented from  doing  them.  Liberty  proposes  to  show  in  more 
detail  hereafter  in  the  prosecution  of  her  pupose.  Enough 
to  say  now  that  monopoly  and  privilege  must  be  destroyed, 
opportunity  afforded,  and  competition  encouraged.  This  is 
Liberty's  work,  and  "  Down  with  Authority  "  her  war-cry. 


[Liberty^  July  30,  1887.] 

Some  very  interesting  and  valuable  discussion  is  going  on 
in  the  London  Jus  concerning  the  question  of  compulsory 
versus  voluntary  taxation.  In  the  issue  of  June  17  there  is  a 
communication  from  F.  W.  Read,  in  which  the  following 
passage  occurs: 

The  voluntary  taxation  proposal  really  means  the  dissolution  of  the 
State  into  its  constituent  atoms,  and  leaving  them  to  recombine  in  some 
way  or  no  way,  just  as  it  may  happen.  There  would  be  nothing  to  pre- 
vent the  existence  of  five  or  six  "States"  in  England,  and  members  of 
all  these  "  States  "  might  be  living  in  the  same  house  !  The  proposal  is. 
it  appears  to  me,  the  outcome  of  an  idea  in  the  minds  of  those  who  pro- 
pound it  that  the  State  is,  or  ought  to  be,  founded  on  contract,  just  as  a 
Joint-stock  company  is.  It  is  a  similar  idea  to  the  defunct  "  original  con- 
tract "  theory.  It  was  thought  the  State  must  rest  upon  a  contract.  There 
had  been  no  contract  in  historic  times  ;  it  was  therefore  assumed  that  there 
had  been  a  prehistoric  contract.  The  voluntary  taxationist  says  there 
never  has  been  any  contract;  therefore  the  State  has  never  had  any  ethical 
basis  ;  therefore  we  will  not  make  a  contract.     The  explanation  of  the 

$i  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

whole  matter,  I  believe,  is  that  given  by  Mr.  Wordsworth  Donisthorpe,— 
viz.,  that  the  State  is  a  social  organism,  evolved  as  every  other  organism 
is  evolved,  and  not  requiring  any  more  than  other  organisms  to  be  based 
upon  a  contract  either  original  or  contemporary. 

The  idea  that  the  voluntary  taxationist  objects  to  the  State 
precisely  because  it  does  not  rest  on  contract,  and  wishes  to 
substitute  contract  for  it,  is  strictly  correct,  and  I  am  glad  to 
see  (for  the  first  time,  if  my  memory  serves  me)  an  opponent 
grasp  it.  But  Mr.  Read  obscures  his  statement  by  his  previous 
remark  that  the  proposal  of  voluntary  taxation  is  "  the  out- 
come of  an  idea  .  .  .  that  the  State  is,  or  ought  to  be,  founded 
on  contract."  This  would  be  true  if  the  words  which  I  have 
italicized  should  bfe  omitted.  It  was  the  insertion  of  these 
words  that  furnished  the  writer  a  basis  for  his  otherwise 
groundless  analogy  between  the  Anarchists  and  the  followers 
of  Rousseau.  The  latter  hold  that  the  State  originated  in  a 
contract,  and  that  the  people  of  to-day,  though  they  did  not 
make  it,  are  bound  by  it.  The  Anarchists,  on  the  contrary, 
deny  that  any  such  contract  was  ever  made  ;  declare  that,  had 
one  ever  been  made,  it  could  not  impose  a  shadow  of  obliga- 
tion on  those  who  had  no  hand  in  making  it;  and  claim  the 
right  to  contract  for  themselves  as  they  please.  The  position 
that  a  man  may  make  his  own  contracts,  far  from  being 
analogous  to  that  which  makes  him  subject  to  contracts  made 
by  others,  is  its  direct  antithesis. 

It  is  perfectly  true  that  voluntary  taxation  would  not 
necessarily  "  prevent  the  existence  of  five  or  six  '  States  '  in 
England,"  and  that  "  members  of  all  these  '  States  '  might  be 
living  in  the  same  house."  But  I  see  no  reason  for  Mr.  Read's 
exclamation  point  after  this  remark.  What  of  it  ?  There  are 
many  more  than  five  or  six  Churches  in  England,  and  it  fre- 
quently happens  that  members  of  several  of  them  live  in  the 
same  house.  There  are  many  more  than  five  or  six  insurance 
companies  in  England,  and  it  is  by  no  means  uncommon  for 
members  of  the  same  family  to  insure  their  lives  and  goods 
against  accident  or  fire  in  different  companies.  Does  any 
harm  come  of  it  ?  Why,  then,  should  there  not  be  a  consider- 
able number  of  defensive  associations  in  England,  in  which 
people,  even  members  of  the  same  family,  might  insure  their 
lives  and  goods  against  murderers  or  thieves  ?  Though  Mr. 
Read  has  grasped  one  idea  of  the  voluntary  taxationists,  I  fear 
that  he  sees  another  much  less  clearly, — namely,  the  idea  that 
defence  is  a  service,  like  any  other  service  ;  that  it  is  labor  both 
useful  and  desired,  and  therefore  an  economic  commodity  sub- 


ject  to  the  law  of  supply  and  demand  ;  that  in  a  free  market 
this  commodity  would  be  furnished  at  the  cost  of  production; 
that,  competition  prevailing,  patronage  would  go  to  those  who 
furnished  the  best  article  at  the  lowest  price;  that  the  production 
and  sale  of  this  commodity  are  now  monopolized  by  the  State; 
that  the  State,  like  almost  all  monopolists,  charges  exorbitant 
prices;  that,  like  almost  all  monopolists,  it  supplies  a  worthless, 
or  nearly  worthless,  article  ;  that,  just  as  the  monopolist  of  a 
food  product  often  furnishes  poison  instead  of  nutriment,  so 
the  State  takes  advantage  of  its  monopoly  of  defence  to  furnish 
invasion  instead  of  protection  ;  that,  just  as  the  patrons  of  the 
one  pay  to  be  poisoned,  so  the  patrons  of  the  other  pay  to  be 
enslaved  ;  and,  finally,  that  the  State  exceeds  all  its  fellow- 
monopolists  in  the  extent  of  its  villany  because  it  enjoys  the 
unique  privilege  of  compelling  all  people  to  buy  its  product 
whether  they  want  it  or  not.  If,  then,  five  or  six  "  States  " 
were  to  hang  out  their  shingles,  the  people,  I  fancy,  would  be 
able  to  buy  the  very  best  kind  of  security  at  a  reasonable  price. 
And  what  is  more, — the  better  their  services,  the  less  they 
would  be  needed  ;  so  that  the  multiplication  of  "  States  "  in- 
volves the  abolition  of  the  State. 

All  these  considerations,  however,  are  disposed  of,  in  Mr. 
Read's  opinion,  by  his  final  assertion  that  "  the  State  is  asocial 
organism."  He  considers  this  "  the  explanation  of  the  whole 
matter."  But  for  the  life  of  me  I  can  see  in  it  nothing  but 
another  irrelevant  remark.  Again  I  ask:  What  of  it  ?  Suppose 
the  State  is  an  organism, — what  then  ?  What  is  the  inference  ? 
That  the  State  is  therefore  permanent  ?  But  what  is  history 
but  a  record  of  the  dissolution  of  organisms  and  the  birth  and 
growth  of  others  to  be  dissolved  in  turn  ?  Is  the  State  exempt 
from  this  order  ?  If  so,  why  ?  What  proves  it  ?  The  State 
an  organism  ?  Yes  ;  so  is  a  tiger.  But  unless  I  meet  him  when 
I  haven't  my  gun,  his  organism  will  speedly  disorganize.  The 
State  is  a  tiger  seeking  to  devour  the  people,  and  they  must 
either  kill  or  cripple  it.  Their  own  safety  depends  upon  it. 
But  Mr.  Read  says  it  can't  be  done.  "  By  no  possibility  can 
the  power  of  the  State  be  restrained."  This  must  be  very  dis- 
appointing to  Mr.  Dbnisthorpe  and  Jus,  who  are  working"  to 
restrain  it.  If  Mr.  Read  is  right,  their  occupation  is  gone.  Is 
he  right  ?  Unless  he  can  demonstrate  it,  the  voluntary  taxa- 
tionists  and  the  Anarchists  will  continue  their  work,  cheered 
by  the  belief  that  the  compulsory  and  invasive  State  is  doomed 
to  die. 

34  iNSTEAt)  OP  A  BOOK. 


YLiberty^  October  22,  1887.] 

Below  is  reprinted  from  the  London  Jus  the  reply  of  F. 
W.  Read  to  the  editorial  in  No.  104  oi  Liberty,  entitled  "Con- 
tract or  Organism,  What's  That  to  Us  ?  " 

To  the  Editor  of  Jus  : 

Sir,— Referring  to  Mr.  Tucker's  criticisms  on  my  letters  in  Jus  deal- 
ing with  Voluntary  Taxation,  the  principle  of  a  State  organism  seems  to 
be  at  the  bottom  of  the  controversy.  I  will  therefore  deal  with  that  first, 
although  it  comes  last  in  Mr.  Tucker's  article.  Mr.  Tucker  asks  whether 
the  State  being  an  organism  makes  it  permanent  and  exempt  from  disso- 
lution. Certainly  not ;  I  never  said  it  did.  But  cannot  Mr.  Tucker  see 
that  dissolving  an  organism  is  something  different  from  dissolving  a  col- 
lection of  atoms  with  no  organic  structure  ?  If  the  people  of  a  State  had 
been  thrown  together  yesterday  or  the  day  before,  no  particular  harm 
would  come  from  splitting  them  into  numerous  independent  sections ;  but 
when  a  people  has  grown  together  generation  after  generation,  and  cen- 
tury after  century,  to  break  up  the  adaptations  and  correlations  that  have 
been  established  can  scarcely  be  productive  of  any  good  results.  The 
tiger  is  an  organism,  says  Mr.  Tucker,  but  if  shot  he  will  be  speedily  dis- 
organized. Quite  so;  but  nobody  supposes  that  the  atoms  of  the  tiger's 
body  derive  any  benefit  from  the  process.  ■  Why  should  the  atoms  of  the 
body  politic  derive  any  advantage  from  the  dissolution  of  the  organism  of 
which  tiey  form  a  part  ?  That  Mr.  Tucker  should  put  the  State  on  a  level 
with  churches  and  insurance  companies  is  simply  astounding.  Does  Mr. 
Tucker  really  think  that  five  or  six  "  States  "  could  exist  side  by  side  with 
the  same  convenience  as  an  equal  number  of  churches  ?  The  diflSculty  of 
determining  what  "  State"  an  individual  belonged  to  would  be  practically 
insuperable.  How  are  assaults  and  robberies  to  be  dealt  with  ?  Is  a  man 
to  be  tried  by  the  "  State  "of  which  he  is  a  citizen,  or  by  the  "  State  "  ot 
the  party  aggrieved  ?  If  by  his  own,  how  is  a  police  officer  of  that  "  State  " 
to  know  whether  a  certain  individual  belongs  to  it  or  not  ?  The  difficulties 
are  so  enormous  that  the  State  would  soon  be  reformed  on  the  old  lines. 
Another  great  difficulty  would  be  that  the  State  would  find  it  impossible  to 
make  a  contract.  If  the  State  is  regarded  as  a  mere  collection  of  indi- 
viduals, who  will  lend  money  on  State  security  ?  The  reason  the  State  is 
trusted  at  all  is  because  it  is  regarded  as  something  over  and  above  the  in- 
dividuals who  happen  to  compose  it  at  any  given  time  ;  because  we  feel 
that,  while  individuals  die,  the  State  remains,  and  that  the  State  will  honor 
State  contracts,  even  if  made  for  purposes  that  are  disapproved  by  those 
who  are  the  atoms  of  the  State  organism.  I  have,  indeed,  heard  it  said 
that  it  would  be  a  good  thing  if  the  State  did  find  it  impossible  to  pledge 
its  credit;  but  good  credit  seems  as  useful  to  a  State  as  to  an  individual. 
Again,  is  it  no  advantage  to  us  to  be  able  to  make  treaties  with  foreign 
countries  ?  But  what  country  will  make  a  treaty  with  a  mere  mass  of  indi- 
viduals, a  large  portion  of  whom  will  be  gone  in  ten  years'  time  ? 

But  apart  from  the  question  of  organism  or  no  organism,  does  not  his- 
tory show  us  a  continuous  weakening  of  the  State  in  some  directions,  and 


a  continuous  strengthening  in  other  directions  ?  We  find  a  gradual  disap- 
pearance of  the  desire  "  to  furnish  invasion  instead  of  protection,"  and,  as 
the  State  ceases  to  do  so,  the  more  truly  strong  does  it  become,  and  the 
more  vigorously  does  it  carry  out  what  I  regard  as  its  ultimate  function, — 
that  of  protecting  some  against  the  aggression  of  others. 

One  word  in  conclusion  as  to  restraining  the  power  of  the  State.  Of 
course  by  restraint  I  mean  legal  restraint.  For  instance,  you  could  not 
deprive  the  State  of  its  taxing  power  by  passing  a  law  to  that  effect.  The 
framers  of  the  Act  of  Union  between  Great  Britain  and  Ireland  tried  to 
restrain  the  power  of  the  State  to  disestablish  the  Irish  Church  ;  but  the 
Irish  Church  was  disestablished  for  all  that.  What  Individualists  are  try- 
ing to  do  is  to  show  the  State  that,  when  it  regulates  factories  and  coal 
mines,  and  a  thousand  and  one  other  things,  it  is  acting  against  its  own 
interests.  When  the  State  has  learned  the  lesson ,  the  meddling  will  cease. 
If  Mr,  Tucker  chooses  to  call  that  restraining  the  State,  he  can  do  so;  I 
don't.  Yours  truly,  etc.,  F.  W.  Read. 

In  answer  to  Mr.  Read's  statement  (vt^hich,  if,  with  all  its 
implications,  it  were  true,  would  be  a  valid  and  final  answer  to 
the  Anarchists)  that  "  dissolving  an  organism  is  something 
different  from  dissolving  a  collection  of  atoms  with  no  organic 
structure,"  I  cannot  do  better  than  quote  the  following  pas- 
sage from  an  article  by  J.  Wm.  Lloyd  in  No.  107  of  Liberty  : 

It  appears  to  me  that  this  universe  is  but  a  vast  aggregate  of  individuals; 
of  individuals  simple  and  p-rimary,  and  of  individuals  complex,  secondary, 
tertiary,  etc.,  formed  by  the  aggregation  of  primary  individuals  or  of  in- 
dividuals of  a  lesser  degree  of  complexity.  Some  of  these  individuals  of 
a  high  degree  of  complexity  are  true  individuals,  concrete,  so  united  that 
the  lesser  organisms  included  cannot  exist  apart  from  the  main  organism; 
while  others  are  imperfect,  discrete,  the  included  organisms  existing  fairly 
well,  quite  as  well,  or  better,  apart  than  united.  In  the  former  class  are 
included  many  of  the  higher  forms  of  vegetable  and  animal  life,  including 
man,  and  in  the  latter  are  included  many  lower  forms  of  vegetable  and  ani- 
mal life  (quack-grass,  tape-worms,  etc.),  and  most  societary  organisms, 
governments,  nations,  churches,  armies,  etc. 

Taking  this  indisputable  view  of  the  matter,  it  becomes 
clear  that  Mr.  Read's  statement  about  "  dissolving  an  organ- 
ism "  is  untrue  while  the  word  organism  remains  unqualified 
by  some  adjective  equivalent  to  Mr.  Lloyd's  concrete.  The 
question,  then,  is  whether  the  State  is  a  concrete  organism. 
The  Anarchists  claim  that  it  is  not.  If  Mr.  Read  thinks  that 
it  is,  the  onus  probandi  is  upon  him.  I  judge  that  his  error 
arises  from  a  confusion  of  the  State  with  society.  That  soci- 
ety is  a  concrete  organism  the  Anarchists  do  not  deny ;  on  the 
contrary,  they  insist  upon  it.  Consequently  they  have  no  in- 
tention or  desire  to  abolish  it.  They  know  that  its  life  is  in- 
separable from  the  lives  of  individuals  ;  that  it  is  impossible  to 
destroy  one  without  destroying  the  other.  But,  though  society 
cannot  be  destroyed,  it  can  be  greatly  hampered  and  impeded 

36  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

in  its  operations,  much  to  the  disadvantage  of  the  individuals 
composing  it,  and  it  meets  its  chief  impediment  in  the  Staie. 
The  State,  unlike  society,  is  a  discrete  organism.  If  it  should 
be  destroyed  to-morrow,  individuals  would  still  continue  to 
exist.  Production,  exchange,  and  association  would  go  on  as 
before,  but  much  more  freely,  and  all  those  social,  functions 
upon  which  the  individual  is  dependent  would  operate  in  his 
behalf  more  usefully  than  ever.  The  individual  is  not  related 
to  the  State  as  the  tiger's  paw  is  related  to  the  tiger.  Kill  the 
tiger,  and  the  tiger's  paw  no  longer  performs  its  office;  kill  the 
State,  and  the  individual  still  lives  and  satisfies  his  wants.  As 
for  society,  the  Anarchists  would  not  kill  it  if  they  could,  and 
could  not  if  they  would. 

Mr.  Read  finds  it  astounding  that  I  should  "  put  the  State 
on  a  level  with  churches  and  insurance  companies."  I  find  his 
astonishment  amusing.  Believers  in  compulsory  religious  sys- 
tems were  astounded  when  it  was  first  proposed  to  put  the 
church  on  a  level  with  other  associations.  Now  the  only  as- 
tonishment is — at  least  in  the  United  States — that  the  church 
is  allowed  to  stay  at  any  other  level.  But  the  political  super- 
stition has  replaced  the  religious  superstition,  and  Mr.  Read  is 
under  its  sway. 

I  do  not  think  "  that  five  or  six  '  States '  could  exist  side  by 
side  with  "  quite  "  the  same  convenience  as  an  equal  number 
of  churches."  In  the  relations  with  which  States  have  to  do 
there  is  more  chance  for  friction  than  in  the  simply  religious 
sphere.  But,  on  the  other  hand,  the  friction  resulting  from  a 
multiplicity  of  States  would  be  but  a  mole-hill  compared  with 
the  mountain  of  oppression  and  injustice  which  is  gradually 
heaped  up  by  a  single  compulsory  State.  It  would  not  be 
necessary  for  a  police  officer  of  a  voluntary  "  State  "  to  know 
to  what  "  State  "  a  given  individual  belonged,  or  whether  he 
belonged  to  any.  Voluntary  "  States  "  could,  and  probably 
would,  authorize  their  executives  to  proceed  against  invasion, 
no  matter  who  the  invader  or  invaded  might  be.  Mr.  Read 
will  probably  object  that  the  "  State  "  to  which  the  invader 
belonged  might  regard  his  arrest  as  itself  an  invasion,  and 
proceed  against  the  "  State  "  which  arrested  him.  Antici- 
pation of  such  conflicts  would  probably  result  exactly  in 
those  treaties  between  "  States  "  which  Mr.  Read  looks  upon 
as  so  desirable,  and  even  in  the  establishment  of  federal 
tribunals,  as  courts  of  last  resort,  by  the  co-operation  of  the 
various  "  States,"  on  the  same  voluntary  principle  in  accord- 
ance with  which  the  "  States  "  themselves  were  organized. 

Voluntary  taxation,  far  from  impairing  the  "  State's  "  credit, 


would  Strengthen  it.  In  the  first  place,  the  simplification  of 
its  functions  would  greatly  reduce,  and  perhaps  entirely 
abolish,  its  need  to  borrow,  and  the  power  to  borrow  is  gener- 
ally inversely  proportional  to  the  steadiness  of  the  need.  It 
is  usually  the  inveterate  borrower  who  lacks  credit.  In  the 
second  place,  the  power  of  the  State  to  repudiate,  and  still 
continue  its  business,  is  dependent  upon  its  power  of  com- 
pulsory taxation.  It  knows  that,  when  it  can  no  longer 
borrow,  it  can  at  least  tax  its  citizens  up  to  the  limit  of 
revolution.  In  the  third  place,  the  State  is  trusted*  not  be- 
cause it  is  over  and  above  individuals,  but  because  the  lender 
presumes  that  it  desires  to  maintain  its  credit  and  will  there- 
fore pay  its  debts.  This  desire  for  credit  will  be  stronger  in 
a  "  State  "  supported  by  voluntary  taxation  thaii  in  the  State 
which  enforces  taxation. 

All  the  objections  brought  forward  by  Mr.  Read  (except 
the  organism  argument)  are  mere  difficulties  of  adminis- 
trative detail,  to  be  overcome  by  ingenuity,  patience,  dis- 
cretion, and  expedients.  They  are  not  logical  difficulties,  not 
difficulties  of  principle.  They  seem  "enormous"  to  him  ;  but 
so  seemed  the  difficulties  of  freedom  of  thought  two  centuries 
ago.  What  does  he  think  of  the  difficulties  of  the  existing 
regime  ?  Apparently  he  is  as  blind  to  them  as  is  the  Roman 
Catholic  to  the  difficulties  of  a  State  religion.  All  thesd 
"  enormous "  difficulties  which  arise  in  the  fancy  of  the 
objectors  to  the  voluntary  principle  will  gradually  vanish 
under  the  influence  of  the  economic  changes  and  well-dis- 
tributed prosperity  which  will  follow  the  adoption  of  that 
principle.  This  is  what  Proudhon  calls  "  the  dissolution  of 
government  in  the  economic  organism."  It  is  too  vast  a  sub- 
ject for  consideration  here,  but,  if  Mr.  Read  wishes  to  under- 
stand the  Anarchistic  theory  of  the  process,  let  him  study  that 
most  wonderful  of  all  the  wonderful  books  of  Proudhon,  the 
"Idee  Generale  de  la  Revolution  au  Dix-Neuvieme  Siecle." 

It  is  true  that  "  history  shows  a  continuous  weakening  of 
the  State  in  some  directions,  and  a  continuous  strengthening 
in  other  directions."  At  least  such  is  the  tendency,  broadly 
speaking,  though  this  continuity  is  sometimes  broken  by 
periods  of  reaction.  This  tendency  is  simply  the  progress  of 
evolution  towards  Anarchy.  The  State  invades  less  and  less, 
and  protects  more  and  more.  It  is  exactly  in  the  line  of  this 
process,  and  at  the  end  of  it,  that  the  Anarchists  demand  the 
abandonment  of  the  last  citadel  of  invasion  by  the  substitu- 
tion of  voluntary  for  compulsory  taxation.  When  this  step 
is  taken,  the  "  State  "  will  achieve  its  maximum  strength  as  a 

38  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

protector  against  aggression,  and  will  maintain  it  as  lor^g  as  its 
services  are  needed  in  that  capacity. 

If  Mr.  Read,  in  saying  that  the  power  of  the  State  cannot 
be  restrained,  simply  meant  that  it  cannot  be  legally  restrained, 
his  remark  had  no  fitness  as  an  answer  to  Anarchists  and 
voluntary  taxationists.  They  do  not  propose  to  legally  re- 
strain it.  They  propose  to  create  a  public  sentiment  that  will 
make  it  impossible  for  the  State  to  collect  taxes  by  force  or 
in  any  other  way  invade  the  individual.  Regarding  the  State 
as  an  instrument  of  aggression,  they  do  not  expect  to  convince 
it  that  aggression  is  against  its  interests,  but  they  do  expect  to 
convince  individuals  that  it  is  against  their  interests  to  be  in- 
vaded. If  by  this  means  they  succeed  in  stripping  the  State 
of  its  invasive  powers,  they  will  be  satisfied,  and  it  is  im- 
material to  them  whether  the  means  is  described  by  the  word 
"restraint"  or  by  some  other  word.  In  fact,  I  have  striven 
in  this  discussion  to  accommodate  myself  to  Mr.  Read's 
phraseology.  For  myself  I  do  net  think  it  proper  to  call 
voluntary  associations  States,  but,  enclosing  the  word  in 
quotation  marks,  I  have  so  used  it  because  Mr.  Read  set  the 


[Li6e7-ty,  March  8,  1890.3 

One  of  the  most  interesting  papers  that  come  to  this  office 
is  the  Personal  Rights  Journal  of  London.  Largely  written 
by  men  like  J.  H.  Levy  and  Wordsworth  Donisthorpe,  it  could 
not  be  otherwise.  Virtually  it  champions  the  same  political 
faith  that  finds  an  advocate  in  Liberty.  It  means  by  indi- 
vidualism what  Liberty  means  by  Anarchism.  That  it  does 
not  realize  this  fact,  and  that  it  assumes  Anarchism  to  be 
something  other  than  complete  individualism,  is  the  principal 
difference  between  us.  This  misunderstanding  of  Anarchism 
is  very  clearly  and  cleverly  exhibited  in  a  passage  which  I 
copy  from  a  keen  and  thought-provoking  lecture  on  "  The 
Outcome  of  Individualism,"  delivered  by  J.  H.  Levy  before 
the  National  Liberal  Club  on  January  lo,  1890,  and  printed 
in  the  Personal  Rights  Journal  of  January  and  February  : 

If  we  are  suffering  from  a  poison,  we  find  it  advantageous  to  take 
9  second  ppison,  which  aqts  as  an  antidote  to  the  first.     But,  if  we  a,x% 


wise,  we  limit  our  dose  of  the  second  poison  so  that  the  toxic  effects  of 
both  combined  are  at  the  minimum.  If  we  take  more  of  it,  it  produces 
toxic  effects  of  its  own  beyond  those  necessary  to  counteract,  so  far  as 
possible,  the  first  poison.  If  we  talce  less  of  it,  the  first  poison,  to  some 
extent,  will  do  its  bad  work  unchecked.  This  illustrates  the  position  of 
the  Individualist,  against  the  Socialist  on  the  one  side  and  the  Anarchist 
on  the  other.  I  recognize  that  government  is  an  evil.  It  always  means 
the  employment  of  force  against  our  fellow-man,  and — at  the  very  best— 
his  subjection,  over  a  larger  or  smaller  extent  of  the  field  of  conduct,  to 
the  will  of  a  majority  of  his  fellow-citizens.  But  if  this  organized  or  reg- 
ularized interference  were  utterly  abolished,  he  would  not  escape  from 
aggression.  He  would,  in  such  a  society  as  ours,  be  liable  to  far  more 
violence  and  fraud,  which  would  be  a  much  worse  evil  than  the  inter- 
vention of  government  needs  be.  But  when  government  pushes  its  in- 
terference beyond  the  point  of  maintaining  the  widest  liberty  equally  for 
all  citizens,  it  is  itself  the  aggressor,  and  none  the  less  so  because  its 
motives  are  good. 

Names  aside,  the  thing  that  Individualism  favors,  accord- 
ing to  the  foregoing,  is  organization  to  maintain  the  widest 
liberty  equally  for  all  citizens.  Well,  that  is  precisel)'  what 
Anarchism  favors.  Individualism  does  not  want  such  organ- 
ization any  longer  than  is  necessary.  Neither  does  Anarchism. 
Mr.  Levy's  assumption  that  Anarchism  does  not  want  such 
organization  at  all  arises  from  his  failure  to  recognize  the 
Anarchistic  definition  of  government.  Government  has  been 
defined  repeatedly  in  these;  columns  as  the  subjection  of  the 
non-invasive  individual  to  a  will  not  his  own.  The  subjection 
of  the  invasive  individual  is  not  government,  but  resistance  to 
and  protection  from  government.  By  these  definitions  govern- 
ment is  always  an  evil,  but  resistance  to  it  is  never  an  evil  or 
a  poison.  Call  such  resistance  an  antidote  if  you  will,  but 
remember  that  not  all  antidotes  are  poisonous.  The  worst 
that  can  be  said  of  resistance  or  protection  is,  not  that  it  is  an 
evil,  but  that  it  is  a  loss  of  productive  force  in  a  necessary 
effort  to  overcome  evil.  It  can  be  called  an  evil  only  in  the 
sense  that  needful  and  not  especially  healthful  labor  can  be 
called  a  curse.  The  poison  illustration,  good  enough  with 
Mr.  Levy's  definitions,  has  no  force  with  the  Anarchistic  use 
of  terms. 

Government  is  invasion,  and  the  State,  as  defined  in  the  last 
issue  of  Liberty,  is  the  embodiment  of  invasion  in  an  indi- 
vidual, or  band  of  individuals,  assuming  to  act  as  representa- 
tives or  masters  of  the  entire  people  within  a  given  area.  The 
Anarchists  are  opposed  to  all  government,  and  especially  to 
the  State  as  the  worst  governor  and  chief  invader.  From 
Liberty's  standpoint,  there  are  not  three  positions,  but  two  : 
one,  that  of  the  authoritarian  Socialists,  favoring  government 

40  INSTEAD    OF    A   BOOK. 

and  the  State  ;  the  other,  that  of  the  Individualists  and  Anar- 
chists, against  government  and  the  State. 

It  is  true  that  Mr.  Levy  expressly  accords  liberty  of  defini- 
tion, and  therefore  I  should  not  have  said  a  word  if  he  had 
simply  stated  the  Individualist  position  without  misinterpreting 
the  Anarchist  position.  But  in  view  of  this  misinterpretation, 
I  must  ask  him  to  correct  it,  unless  he  can  show  that  my 
criticism  is  invalid. 

I  may  add,  in  conclusion,  that  very  probably  the  disposition 
of  the  Individualist  to  give  greater  prominence  than  does  the 
Anarchist  to  the  necessity  of  organization  for  protection  is 
due  to  the  fact  that  he  seems  to  see  less  clearly  than  the  An- 
archist that  the  necessity  for  defence  against  individual  in- 
vaders is  largely  and  perhaps,  in  the  end,  wholly  due  to  the 
oppressions  of  the  invasive  State,  and  that  when  the  State 
falls,  criminals  will  begin  to  disappear. 


\Liberty-,  November  i,  1890.] 

"  Whatever  else  Anarchism  may  mean,  it  means  that  State 
coercion  of  peaceable  citizens,  into  co-operation  in  restraining 
the  activity  of  Bill  Sikes,  is  to  be  condemned  and  ought  to  be 
abolished.  Anarchism  implies  the  right  of  an  individual  to 
stand  aside  and  see  a  man  murdered  or  a  woman  raped.  It 
implies  the  right  of  the  would-be  passive  accomplice  of  ag- 
gression to  escape  all  coercion.  It  is  true  the  Anarchist  may 
voluntarily  co-operate  to  check  aggression  ;  but  also  he  may 
not.  Qud  Anarchist,  he  is  within  his  right  in  withholding 
such  co-operation,  in  leaving  others  to  bear  the  burden  of 
resistance  to  aggression,  or  in  leaving  the  aggressor  to  triumph 
unchecked.  Individualism,  on  the  other  hand,  would  not 
only  restrain  the  active  invader  up  to  the  point  necessary  to 
restore  freedom  to  others,  but  would  also  coerce  the  man  who 
would  otherwise  be  a  passive  witness  of,  or  conniver  at,  ag- 
gression into  co-operation  against  his  more  active  colleague." 

The  foregoing  paragraph  occurs  in  an  ably-written  article 
by  Mr.  J.  H.  Levy  in  the  Personal  Rights  Journal.  The  writer's 
evident  intention  was  to  put  Anarchism  in  an  unfavorable  light 
by  stating  its  principles,  or  one  of  them,  in  a  very  offensive 
way.     At  the  same  time  it  was  his  inte^ition  also  to  be  fair, — 


that  is,  not  to  distort  the  doctrine  of  Anarchism, — and  he  has 
not  distorted  it.  I  reprint  the  paragraph  in  editorial  type  for 
the  purpose  of  giving  it,  as  an  Anarchist,  my  entire  approval, 
barring  the  stigma  sought  to  be  conveyed  by  the  words  "  ac- 
complice "  and  "  conniver."  If  a  man  will  but  state  the  truth 
as  I  see  it,  he  may  state  it  as  baldly  as  he  pleases  ;  I  will  ac- 
cept it  still.  The  Anarchists  are  not  afraid  of  their  principles. 
It  is  far  more  satisfactory  to  have  one's  position  stated  baldly 
and  accurately  by  an  opponent  who  understands  it  than  in  a 
genial,  milk-and-water,  and  inaccurate  fashion  by  an  igno- 

It  is  agreed,  then,  that,  in  Anarchism's  view,  an  individual  has 
aright  to  stand  aside  and  see  a  man  murdered.  And  pray,  why 
not  ?  If  it  is  justifiable  to  collar  a  man  who  is  minding  his 
own  business  and  force  him  into  a  fight,  why  may  we  not  also 
collar  him  for  the  purpose  of  forcing  him  to  help  us  to  coerce 
a  parent  into  educating  his  child,  or  to  commit  any  other  act 
of  invasion  that  may  seem  to  us  for  the  general  good  ?  I  can 
see  no  ethical  distinction  here  whatever.  It  is  true  that  Mr. 
Levy,  in  the  succeeding  paragraph,  justifies  the  collaring  of 
the  non-co-operative  individual  on  the  ground  of  necessity.  (I 
note  here  that  this  is  the  same  ground  on  which  Citizen  Most 
proposes  to  collar  the  non-co-operator  in  his  communistic  en- 
terprises and  make  him  work  for  love  instead  of  wages.)  But 
some  other  motive  than  necessity  must  have  been  in  Mr. 
Levy's  mind,  unconsciously,  when  he  wrote  the  paragraph 
which  I  have  quoted.  Else  why  does  he  deny  that  the  non- 
co-operator  is  "  within  his  right  "  ?  I  can  understand  the  man 
who  in  a  crisis  justifies  no  matter  what  form  of  compulsion  on 
the  ground  of  sheer  necessity,  but  I  cannot  understand  the 
man  who  denies  the  right  of  the  individual  thus  coerced  to 
resist  such  compulsion'  and  insist  on  pursuing  his  own  inde- 
pendent course.  It  is  precisely  this  denial,  however,  that  Mr. 
Levy  makes  ;  otherwise  his  phrase  "  within  his  right "  is 

But  however  this  may  be,  let  us  look  at  the  plea  of  neces- 
sity. Mr.  Levy  claims  that  the  coercion  of  the  peaceful  non- 
co-operator  is  necessary.  Necessary  to  what  ?  Necessary, 
answers  Mr.  Levy,  "  in  order  that  freedom  may  be  at  the 
maximum."  Supposing  for  the  moment  that  this  is  true, 
another  inquiry  suggests  itself  :  Is  the  absolute  maximum  of 
freedom  an  end  to  be  attained  at  any  cost  2  I  regard  liberty  as 
the  chief  essential  to  man's  happiness,  and  therefore  as  the 
most  important  thing  in  the  world,  and  I  certainly  want  as 
much  of  it  as  I  can  get.     But  I  cannot  see  that  it  concerns  me 

42  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

much  whether  the  aggregate  amount  of  liberty  enjoyed  by  all 
individuals  added  together  is  at  its  maximum  or  a  little  below 
it,  if  I,  as  one  individual,  am  to  have  little  or  none  of  this  ag- 
gregate. If,  however,  I  am  to  have  as  much  liberty  as  others, 
and  if  others  are  to  have  as  much  as  I,  then,  feeling  secure  in 
what  we  have,  it  will  behoove  us  all  undoubtedly  to  try  to 
attain  the  maximum  of  liberty  compatible  with  this  condition 
of  equality.  Which  brings  us  back  to  the  familiar  law  of 
equal  liberty, — the  greatest  amount  of  individual  liberty  com- 
patible with  the  equality  of  liberty.  But  this  maximum  of 
liberty  is  a  very  different  thing  from  that  which  is  to  be  at- 
tained, according  to  the  hypothesis,  only  by  violating  equality 
of  liberty.  For,  certainly,  to  coerce  the  peaceful  non-co-oper- 
ator is  to  violate  equality  of  liberty.  If  my  neighbor  believes 
in  co-operation  and  I  do  not,  and  if  he  has  liberty  to  choose 
to  co-operate  while  I  have  no  liberty  to  choose  not  to  co-oper- 
ate, then  there  is  no  equality  of  liberty  between  us.  Mr. 
Levy's  position  is  analogous  to  that  of  a  man  who  should 
propose  to  despoil  certain  individuals  of  peacefully  and  hon- 
estly acquired  wealth  on  the  ground  that  such  spoliation  is 
necessary  in  order  that  wealth  may  be  at  the  maximum.  Of 
course  Mr.  Levy  would  answer  to  this  that  the  hypothesis  is 
absurd,  and  that  the  maximum  could  not  be  so  attained  ;  but 
he  clearly  would  have  to  admit,  if  pressed,  that,  even  if  it 
could,  the  end  is  not  important  enough  to  justify  such  means. 
To  be  logical  he  must  make  the  same  admission  regarding 
his  own  proposition. 

But,  after  all,  is  the  hypothesis  any  more  absurd  in  the  one 
case  than  in  the  other  ?  I  think  not.  It  seems  to  me  just  as 
impossible  to  attain  the  maximum  of  liberty  by  depriving 
people  of  their  liberty  as  to  attain  the  maximum  of  wealth  by 
depriving  people  of  their  wealth.  In  fact,  it  seems  to  me  that 
in  both  cases  the  means  is  absolutely  destructive  of  the  end. 
Mr.  Levy  wishes  to  restrict  the  functions  of  government  ; 
now,  the  compulsory  co-operation  that  he  advocates  is  the 
chief  obstacle  in  the  way  of  such  restriction.  To  be  sure, 
government  restricted  by  the  removal  of  this  obstacle  would 
no  longer  be  government,  as  Mr.  Levy  is  "  quick-witted 
enough  to  see  "  (to  return  the  compliment  which  he  pays  the 
Anarchists).  But  what  of  that  ?  It  would  still  be  a  power 
for  preventing  those  invasive  acts  which  the  people  are  practi- 
cally agreed  in  wanting  to  prevent.  If  it  should  attempt  to 
go  beyond  this,  it  would  be  promptly  checked  by  a  diminution 
of  the  supplies.  The  power  to  cut  off  the  supplies  is  the 
most  effective  weapon  against  tyranny.      To  say,  as  Mr.  Levy 

Ttt£    I^JDlViDtJAL,   SOCIETY,    AND    THE   STATE.  4^ 

does,  that  "  taxation  must  be  coextensive  with  government " 
is  not  the  proper  way  to  put  it.  It  is  government  (or,  rather, 
the  State)  that  must  and  will  be  coextensive  with  taxation. 
When  compulsory  taxation  is  abolished,  there  will  be  no  State, 
and  the  defensive  institution  that  will  succeed  it  will  be 
steadily  deterred  from  becoming  an  invasive  institution 
through  fear  that  the  voluntary  contributions  will  fall  off. 
This  constant  motive  for  a  voluntary  defensive  institution  to 
keep  itself  trimmed  down  to  the  popular  demand  is  itself  the 
best  possible  safeguard  against  the  bugbear  of  multitudinous 
rival  political  agencies  which  seems  to  haunt  Mr.  Levy.  He 
says  that  the  voluntary  taxationists  are  victims  of  an  illusion. 
The  charge  might  be  made  against  himself  with  much  more 

My  chief  interest  in  Mr.  Levy's  article,  however,  is  excite^ 
by  his  valid  criticism  of  those  Individualists  who  accept  vol- 
untary taxation,  but  stop  short,  or  think  they  stop  short,  of 
Anarchism,  and  I  shall  wait  with  much  curiosity  to  see  what 
Mr.  Greevz  Fisher,  and  especially  Mr.  Auberon  Herbert,  will 
have  to  say  in  reply. 

On  the  whole.  Anarchists  have  more  reason  to  be  grateful  to 
Mr.  Levy  for  his  article  than  to  complain  of  it.  It  is  at  least 
an  appeal  for  intellectual  consistency  on  this  subject,  and  as 
such  it  renders  unquestionable  service  to  the  cause  of  plumb- 
line  Anarchism. 


[_Liberiy,  March  26,  1887.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

I  have  lately  been  involved  in  several  discussions  leading  out  of  your 
refusal  to  pay  your  poll-tax,  and  I  would  like  to  get  from  you  your 
reasons,  so  far  as- they  are  public  property,  for  that  action.  It  seems  to 
me  that  any  good  object  could  have  been  better  and  more  easily  obtained 
by  compromising  with  the  law,  except  the  object  of  propagandism,  and  that 
in  attaining  that  object  you  were  going  beyond  the  right  into  paths  where 
you  could  not  bid  any  one  follow  who  was  trying  to  live  square  with  the 
truth,  so  far  as  we  may  know  it. 

It  seems  to  me  that  we  owe  our  taxes  to  the  State,  whether  we  believe 
in  it  or  not,  so  long  as  we  remain  within  its  borders,  for  the  benefits 
which  we  willingly  or  unwillingly  derive  from  it;  that  the  only  right  course 
to  be  pursued  is  to  leave  any  State  whose  laws  we  can  no  longer  obey 
without  violence  to  our  own  reason,  and,  if  neeessary,  people  a  desert 

44  ItiSTEAt)    OF    A    B60K. 

island  for  ourselves  ;  for  in  staying  in  it  and  refusing  to  obey  its  authority, 
we  are  denying  the  right  of  others  to  combine  on  any  system  which  they 
may  deem  right,  and  in  trying  to  compel  them  to  give  up  their  contract, 
we  are  as  far  from  right  as  tbey  in  trying  to  compel  us  to  pay  the  taxes 
in  which  we  do  not  believe. 

I  think  that  you  neglect  the  grand  race  experience  which  has  given  us 
our  present  governments  when  you  wage  war  upon  them  all,  and  that  a 
compromise  with  existing  circumstances  is  as  much  a  part  of  the  right  as 
following  our  own  reason,  for  the  existent  is  the  induction  of  the  race,  and 
so  long  as  our  individual  reasons  are  not  all  concordant  it  is  entitled  to  its 
share  of  consideration,  and  those  who  leave  it  out  do,  in  so  far,  wrong. 

Even  granting  strict  individualism  to  be  the  ultimate  goal  of  the  race 
development,  still  you  seem  to  me  positively  on  a  false  path  when  you  at- 
tempt— as  your  emphatic  denial  of  all  authority  of  existing  government 
implies — tp  violently  substitute  the  end  of  development  for  its  beginning. 

I  think  that  these  are  my  main  points  of  objection,  and  hope  that  you 
will  pardon  my  impertinence  in  addressing  you,  which  did  not  come  from 
any  idle  argumentative  curiosity,  but  a  genuine  search  for  the  truth,  if  it 
exists;  and  so  I  ventured  to  address  you,  as  you  by  your  action  seem  to 
me  to  accept  the  burden  of  proof  in  your  contest  with  the  existent. 

Yours  truly,  Frederic  A.  C.  Perrike. 

7  Atlantic  St.,  Newark,  N.  J.,  November  ii,  1886. 

Mr.  Perrine's  criticism  is  an  entirely  pertinent  one,  and  of 
the  sort  that  I  like  to  ansyv^er,  though  in  this  instance  circum- 
stances have  delayed  the  appearance  of  his  letter.  The  gist 
of  his  position — -in  fact,  the  whole  of  his  argument — is  con- 
tained in  his  second  paragraph,  and  is  based  on  the  assump- 
tion that  the  State  is  precisely  the  thing  which  the  Anarchists 
say  it  is  not, — namely,  a  voluntary  association  of  contracting 
individuals.  Were  it  really  such,  I  should  have  no  quarrel 
with  it,  and  I  should  admit  the  truth  of  Mr.  Perrine's  re- 
marks. For  certainly  such  voluntary  association  would  be 
entitled  to  enforce  whatever  regulations  the  contracting  parties 
might  agree  upon  within  the  limits  of  whatever  territory,  or 
divisions  of  territory,  had  been  brought  into  the  association  by 
these  parties  as  individual  occupiers  thereof,  and  no  non- 
contracting  party  would  have  a  right  to  enter  or  remain  in 
this  domain  except  upon  such  terms  as  the  association  might 
impose.  But  if,  somewhere  between  these  divisions  of  terri- 
tory, had  lived,  prior  to  the  formation  of  the  association,  some 
individual  on  his  homestead,  who  for  any  reason,  wise  or 
foolish,  had  declined  to  join  in  forming  the  association,  the 
contracting  parties  would  have  had  no  right  to  evict  him,  com- 
pel him  to  join,  make  him  pay  for  any  incidental  benefits  that 
he  might  derive  from  proximity  to  their  association,  or  restrict 
him  in  the  exercise  of  any  prsviously-enjoyed  right  to  prevent 
him  from  reaping  these  benefits.  Now,  voluntary  association 
necessarily  involving  the  right  of  secession,  any  seceding  mem- 

THfi   INDIVIDUAL,    gOCIETY,    AND    THE   StATE.  4^ 

ber  would  naturally. fall  back  into  the  position  and  upon  the 
rights  of  the  individual  above  described,  who  refused  to  join 
at  all.  So  much,  then,  for  the  attitude  of  the  individual 
toward  any  voluntary  association  surrounding  him,  his  support 
thereof  evidently  depending  upon  his  approval  or  disapproval 
of  its  objects,  his  view  of  its  efficiency  in  attaining  them,  and 
his  estimate  of  the  advantages  and  disadvantages  involved  in 
joining,  seceding,  or  abstaining.  But  no  individual  to-day 
finds  himself  under  any  such  circumstances.  The  States  in 
the  midst  of  which  he  lives  cover  all  the  ground  there  is,  af- 
fording him  no  escape,  and  are  not  voluntary  associations,  but 
gigantic  usurpations.  There  is  not  one  of  them  which  did 
not  result  from  the  agreement  of  a  larger  or  smaller  number 
of  individuals,  inspired  sometimes  no  doubt  by  kindly,  but 
oftener  by  malevolent,  designs,  to  declare  all  the  territory  and 
persons  within  certain  boundaries  a  nation  which  every  one 
of  these  persons  must  support,  and  to  whose  will,  expressed 
through  its  sovereign  legislators  and  administrators  no  matter 
how  chosen,  every  one  of  them  must  submit.  Such  an  insti- 
tution is  sheer  tyranny,  and  has  no  rights  which  any  individual 
is  bound  to  respect ;  on  the  contrary,  every  individual  who 
understands  his  rights  and  values  his  liberties  will  do  his  best 
to  overthrow  it.  I  think  it  must  now  be  plain  to  Mr. 
Perrine  why  I  do  not  feel  bound  either  to  pay  taxes  or  to  em- 
igrate. Whether  I  will  pay  them  or  not  is  another  question, — 
one  of  expediency.  My  object  in  refusing  has  been,  as  Mr. 
Perrine  suggests,  propagandism,  and  in  the  receipt  of  Mr. 
Perrine's  letter  I  find  evidence  of  the  adaptation  of  this  policy 
to  that  end.  Propagandism  is  the  only  motive  that  I  can  urge 
for  isolated  individual  resistance  to  taxation.  But  out  of 
propagandism  by  this  and  many  other  methods  I  expect  there 
ultimately  will  develop  the  organization  of  a  determined  body 
of  men  and  women  who  will  effectively,  though  passively,  re- 
sist taxation,  not  simply  for  propagandism,  but  to  directly 
cripple  their  oppressors.  This  is  the  extent  of  the  only  "  vio- 
lent substitution  of  end  for  beginning "  which  I  can  plead 
guilty  of  advocating,  and,  if  the  end  can  be  "  better  and  more 
easily  obtained  "  in  any  other  way,  I  should  like  to  have  it 
pointed  out.  The  "  grand  race  experience  "  which  Mr.  Per- 
rine thinks  I  neglect  is  a  very  imposing  phrase,  on  hearing 
which  one  is  moved  to  lie  down  in  prostrate  submission  ;  but 
whoever  first  chances  to  take  a  closer  look  will  see  that  it  is 
but  one  of  those  spooks  of  which  Tak  Kak*  tells  us.     Nearly 

*A  writer  for  Liberty  who  has  devoted  much  space  to  exposition  of  the 
philosophy  of  Egoism. 



all  the  evils  with  which  mankind  was  ever  afflicted  were  prod- 
ucts of  this  "grand  race  experience,"  and  I  am  not  aware 
that  any  were  ever  abolished  by  showing  it  any  unnecessary 
reverence.  We  will  bow  to  it  when  we  must  ;  we  will  "com- 
promise with  existing  circumstances  "  when  we  have  to  ;  but 
at  all  other  times  we  will  follow  our  reason  and  the  plumb-line. 


\_L,ibei'ty,  April  9,  1887.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

Please  accept  my  thanks  for  your  candid  answer  to  my  letter  of  No- 
vember II,  1 886.  It  contains,  however,  some  points  which  do  not  seem 
to  me  conclusive.  The  first  position  to  which  I  object  is  your  statement 
that  voluntary  association  necessarily  involves  the  right  of  secession  ; 
hereby  you  deny  the  right  of  any  people  to  combine  on  a  constitution 
which  denies  that  right  of  secession,  and  in  doing  so  attempt  to  force 
upon  them  your  own  idea  of  right.  You  assume  the  case  of  a  new  State 
attempting  to  impose  its  laws  upon  a  former  settler  in  the  country,  and 
say  that  they  have  no  right  to  do  so  ;  I  agree  with  you,  but  have  I  not  as 
much  reason  for  assuming  a  State  including  no  previous  settler's  home- 
stead and  voluntarily  agreeing  to  waive  all  right  of  secession  from  the 
vote  of  the  majority  ?  In  any  such  State  I  claim,  then,  that  any  member 
becoming  an  Anarchist,  or  holding  any  views  differing  from  those  of  the 
general  body,  is  only  right  in  applying  them  within  the  laws  of  the  ma- 
jority. I 

Such  seems  to  me  to  represent  the  condition  of  these  United  States  ; 
there  is  very  little,  if  any,  record  of  any  man  denying  the  right  of  the 
majority  at  their  foundation,  and,  in  the  absence  of  any  such  denial,  we 
are  forced  to  the  conclusion  that  the  association  and  the  passage  of  the 
majority  rules  were  voluntary,  and,  as  I  said  before,  resistance  to  their 
government  beyond  the  legal  means  by  an  inhabitant  is  practically  deny- 
ing the  right  of  the  others  to  waive  the  right  of  secession  on  entering 
into  a  contract.  The  denial  of  any  such  right  seems  to  me  to  be  irra- 

Of  course,  none  of  this  applies  to  the  Indians,  who  never  did  and 
never  will  come  into  the  government.  I  do  not,  however,  think  that 
their  case  invalidates  the  argument. 

In  the  second  place,  I  object  to  your  quotation  of  my  phrase,  "  grand 
race  experience,"  as  grandiloquent.  If  we  have  anything  grand,  it  is 
this  "  race  experience  "  ;  denying  its  grandeur,  you  either  deny  the  gran- 
deur and  dignity  of  Man,  or  else,  as  you  seem  to  do,  you  look  back 
fondly  to  some  past  happy  state  in  some  "  Happy  Valley  "  of  Eden  from 
which  man  has  been  falling  till  now  he  can  say,  "All  the  evils  with  which 
mankind  was  ever  afflicted  were  products  of  this  '  grand  race  experi- 
ence.' "  It  does  indeed  seem  to  me  to  be  to  you  a  "  spook  "  and  more  : 
an  ogre.  The  Devil  going  about  devouring  all  good,  rather  than,  as  it 
seems  to  me,  the  manifestation  of  Divinity, — the  divinity  of  Man,  which 

The  iNDivibUAt,  sociEtY,  And  the  state.  4f 

has  produced,  not  alone  the  evil  in  us,  but  has  produced  us  as  we  are, 
with  ail  our  good  and  ill  combined. 

It  is  the  force  which  is  as  surely  leading  us  up  to  Anarchy  and  beyond 
as  it  has  led  us  from  the  star-dust  into  manhood.  It  is  the  personifica- 
tion of  our  evolution,  and,  while  no  man  may  either  advance  or  retard 
that  evolution  to  any  very  considerable  extent,  still  it  seems  to  me  that 
much  more  can  be  accomplished  by  acting  with  it  than  across  its  p^th, 
even  though  we  may  seem  to  be  steering  straight  towards  the  harbor  for 
which  it  is  tacking. 

The  other  night  I  attended  a  meeting  of  the  Commonwealth  Club  of 
New  York  City,  and  there  listened  to  the  reading  and  discussion  of  a 
paper  by  Mr.  Bishop,  of  the  Post,  on  the  effects  of  bribery  at  elections, 
concerning  the  amount  of  which  Mr.  Wm.  M.  Ivins  had  given  so  many 
startling  figures  at  an  earlier  meeting.  Mr.  Bishop  recited  the  long  list 
of  party  leaders,  and  characterized  them  in  their  professions  and  prac- 

The  whole  unsavory  story,  only  too  familiar  to  us  all,  did  not  daunt 
him  in  his  belief  that  the  government  is  a  part  of  the  true  curve  of  de- 
velopment, but  only  incited  the  proposal  of  a  remedy,  which  consisted  in 
substituting  the  State  for  the  party  machine  in  the  distribution  of  the 
ballots  and  in  the  enactment  of  more  stringent  bribery  and  undue  influ- 
ence acts, — in  fact,  a  series  of  laws  similar  to  those  English  laws  of  Sir 
Henry  James,  which  are  in  force  there  at  the  present  time  and  which 
seem  to  act  to  a  certain  extent  beneficially. 

In  closing,  after  recognizing  the  difficulty  in  passing  any  reform 
measures,  he  quoted  Gladstone's  memorable  appeal  to  the  future  for  his 
vindication,  claiming  a  common  cause  with  all  reformers  and  with  Time, 
which  is  fighting  for  them. 

The  reading  of  this  paper  was  followed  by  an  address  from  Mr.  Simon 
Sterne,  advocating  the  minority  representation  of  Mill,  and  one  by  Mr. 
Turner,  who  appealed  for  an  open  ballot. 

Immediately  Mr.  Ivins  rose,  and,  after  showing  that  no  open  ballot 
could  be  free,  as  even  asking  a  man  for  his  vote  is  a  form  of  coercion, 
proceeded  on  the  lines  of  Mr.  Bishop's  closing  quotation  to  show  that 
the  reform  then  proposed  was  but  a  link  in  the  long  chain  which  is  leading 
us  irresistibly  onward  ;  that  not  in  State  supervision,  or  in  minority  repre- 
sentation, or  in  any  measure  at  present  proposed,  was  there  an  adequate 
solution  of  the  problem,  but  that  they  were  each  logical  steps  in  prog- 
ress,— progress  which  may  end  in  a  State  Socialism  or  in  Anarchy  or 
in  what  not,  but  at  any  rate  in  Tie  End  which  is  right  and  inevitable. 
We  cannot  any  of  us  turn  far  aside  the  course  of  this  progress,  however 
we  may  act.  We  can  but  put  our  shoulder  to  the  wheel  and  give  a  little 
push  onwards  according  to  our  little  strength.  Except  at  great  epochs, 
the  extremists  diminish  their  effect  by  diminishing  their  leverage  ;  the 
steady,  every-day  workers  who  strive  for  the  right  along  the  existing 
lines  purify  the  moral  tone  of  the  times  and  pave  the  way  for  those  great 
revolutions  when  the  world  seems  to  advance  by  great  bounds  into'  the 

Should  we  not,  then,  strike  hands  with  these  men  of  the  Common- 
wealth Club,  and,  burying  our  differences  of  ultimate  aims,  if  differences 
exist,  work  in  and  for  the  present? 

I  sat  at  that  dinner  with  Republicans  and  Democrats,  Free  Traders  and 
Protectionists,  all  absorbed  with  the  one  idea  of  advancement  and  working 
for  that  idea  with  heart  and  soul.  Their  influence  will  be  felt,  felt  not  only 
now,  but  in  the  future,  even  the  future  of  a  happy  Anarchy;  reaching  out 

48  iMstEAb  OF  A  eoOK. 

after  and  touching  that  state  before  some  of  its  more  uncompromising 

When  the  days  are  ripe  for  a  revolution,  then  let  there  be  no  compro- 
mise; the  compromise  will  come  in  spite  of  us.  But  to  fly  against  the 
wall  of  an  indolent  public  sentiment  is  folly,  while  each  man,  Anc.rchist 
or  not,  can  do  something  towards  the  purification  of  the  existent  order  of 
things,  or  at  least  should  withhold  the  hand  of  hindrance  from  earnest 
workers  in  that  field.  Frederic  A.  C.  Perrine. 

7  Atlantic  Street,  Newark,  N.  J.,  April  i,  1887. 

When  I  said,  in  my  previous  reply  to  Mr.  Perrine,  that  vol- 
untary association  necessarily  involves  the  right  of  secession, 
I  did  not  deny  the  right  of  any  individuals  to  go  through  the 
form  of  constituting  themselves  an  association  in  which  each 
member  waives  the  right  of  secession.  My  assertion  was 
simply  meant  to  carry  the  idea  that  such  a  constitution,  if  any 
should  be  so  idle  as  to  adopt  it,  would  be  a  mere  form,  which 
every  decent  man  who  was  a  party  to  it  would  hasten  to  vio- 
late and  tread  under  foot  as  soon  as  he  appreciated  the  enor- 
mity of  his  folly.  Contract  is  a  very  serviceable  and  most 
important  tool,  but  its  usefulness  has  its  limits  ;  no  man  can 
employ  it  for  the  abdication  of  his  manhood.  To  indefinitely 
waive  one's  right  of  secession  is  to  make  one's  self  a  slave. 
Now,  no  man  can  make  himself  so  much  a  slave  as  to  forfeit 
the  right  to  issue  his  own  emancipation  proclamation.  Indi- 
viduality and  its  right  of  assertion  are  indestructible  except 
by  death.  Hence  any  signer  of  such  a  constitution  as  that 
supposed  who  should  afterwards  become  an  Anarchist  would 
be  fully  justified  in  the  use  of  any  means  that  would  protect 
him  from  attempts  to  coerce  him  in  the  name  of  that  consti- 
tution. But  even  if  this  were  not  so  ;  if  men  were  really 
under  olbligation  to  keep  impossible  contracts, — there  would 
still  be  no  inference  to  be  drawn  therefrom  regarding  the  rela- 
tions of  the  United  States  to  its  so-called  citizens.  To  assert 
that  the  United  States  constitution  is  similar  to  that  of  the 
hypothesis  is  an  extremely  wild  remark.  Mr.  Perrine  can 
readily  find  this  out  by  reading  Lysander  Spooner's  "  Letter 
to  Grover  Cleveland."  That  masterly  document  will  tell  him 
what  the  United  States  constitution  is  and  just  how  binding 
it  is  on  anybody.  But  if  the  United  States  constitution  were 
a  voluntary  contract  of  the  nature  described  above,  it  would 
still  remain  for  Mr.  Perrine  to  tell  us  why  those  who  failed 
to  repudiate  it  are  bound,  by  such  failure,  to  comply  with  it, 
or  why  the  assent  of  those  who  entered  into  it  is  binding  upon 
people  who  were  then  unborn,  or  what  right  the  contracting 
parties,  if  there  were  any,  had  to  claim  jurisdiction  and  sov- 


ereign  power  over  that  vast  section  of  the  planet  which  has 
since  been  known  as  the  United  States  of  America  and  over 
all  the  persons  contained  therein,  instead  of  over  themselves 
simply  and  such  lands  as  they  personally  occupied  and  used. 
These  are  points  which  he  utterly  ignores.  His  reasoning 
consists  of  independent  propositions  between  which  there  are 
no  logical  links.  Now,  as  to  the  "grand  race  experience." 
It  is  perfectly  true  that,  if  we  have  anything  grand,  it  is  this, 
but  it  is  no  less  true  that,  if  we  have  anything  base,  it  is  this. 
It  is  all  we  have,  and,  being  all,  includes  all,  both  grand  and 
base.  I  do  not  deny  man's  grandeur,  neither  do  I  deny  his 
degradation;  consequently  I  neither  accept  nor  reject  all  that 
he  has  been  and  done.  I  try  to  use  my  reason  for  the  purpose 
of  discrimination,  instead  of  blindly  obeying  any  divinity,  even 
that  of  man.  We  should  not  worship  this  race  experience  by 
imitation  and  repetitipn,  but  should  strive  to  profit  by  its  mis- 
takes and  avoid  them  in  future.  Far  from  believing  in  any 
Edenic  state,  I  yield  to  no  man  in  my  strict  adherence  to  the 
theory  of  evolution,  but  evolution  is  "leading  us  up  to  An- 
archy "  simply  because  it  has  already  led  us  in  nearly  every 
other  direction  and  made  a  failure  of  it.  Evolution  like  na- 
ture, of  which  it  is  the  instrument  or  process,  is  extremely 
wasteful  and  short-sighted.  Let  us  not  imitate  its  wastefulness 
or  even  tolerate  it  if  we  can  help  it ;  let  us  rather  use  our 
brains  for  the  guidance  of  evolution  in  the  path  of  economy. 
Evolution  left  to  itself  will  sooner  or  later  eliminate  every 
other  social  form  and  leave  us  Anarchy.  But  evolution 
guided  will  try  to  discover  the  common  element  in  its  past 
failures,  summarily  reject  everything  having  this  element,  and 
straightway  accept  Anarchy,  which  has  it  not.  Because  we 
are  the  products  of  evolution  we  are  not  therefore  to  be  its 
puppets.  On  the  contrary,  as  our  intelligence  grows,  we  are  to 
be  more  and  more  its  masters.  It  is  just  because  we  let  it 
master  us,  just  because  we  strive  to  act  with  it  rather  than 
across  its  path,  just  because  we  dilly-dally  and  shilly-shally 
and  fritter  away  our  time,  for  instance,  over  secret  ballots, 
open  ballots,  and  the  like,  instead  of  treating  the  whole  matter 
of  the  suffrage  from  the  standpoint  of  principle,  that  we  do  in- 
deed "pave  the  way,"  much  to  our  sorrow,  "for  those  great 
revolutions  "  and  "  great  epochs  "  when  extremists  suddenly 
get  the  upper  hand.  Great  epochs,  indeed  !  Great  disasters 
rather,  which  it  behooves  us  vigilantly  to  avoid.  But  how  ? 
By  being  extremists  now.  If  there  were  more  extremists  in 
evolutionary  periods,  there  would  be  no  revolutionary  periods. 
There  is  no  lesson  more  important  for  mankind  to  learn  than 

go  INSTEAD   OF   A   BOOK. 

that.  Until  it  is  learned,  Mr.  Perrine  will  talk  in  vain  about 
the  divinity  of  man,  for  every  day  will  make  it  more  patent 
that  his  god  is  but  a  jumping-jack. 


\_Literty,  July  i6,  1887.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  :' 

I  suppose  I  should  feel  completely  swamped  by  the  great  waves  of 
satire  which  have  rolled  over  my  head  from  all  directions  but  the  front. 

Still  I  feel  able  to  lift  my  hand,  and  make  the  motion  of  scissors. 

I  have  had  the  fallacy  of  a  part  of  my  argument  so  clearly  pointed  out 
to  me  by  another  than  Liberty  that  I  did  not  think  it  would  be  necessary 
for  its  editor  to  go  so  far  around  my  position  as  to  deny  the  sanctity  of 
contract  in  order  to  refute  me. 

Indeed,  my  only  hope  of  Liberty  now  is  that  it  will  define  some  of  its 
own  positions. 

I  have  heard  a  great  deal  of  "spooks  "  and  "  plumb-lines,"  but  I  can^ 
not  clearly  see  the  reason  that  contract  has  ceased  being  a  "plumb- 
line  "  and  become  a  "  spook,"  unless  we  have  to  allow  that  much  liberty 
for  an  argument. 

Will  you  please  explain  what  safety  there  may  be  in  an  individualistic 
community  where  it  becomes  each  man's  duty  to  break  all  contracts  as 
soon  as  he  has  become  convinced  that  they  were  made  foolishly  ? 

Again,  it  being  the  duty  of  the  individuals  to  break  contracts  made 
with  each  other,  I  cannot  clearly  see  how  it  becomes  an  act  of  despica- 
ble despotism  for  the  Republic  to  break  contracts  made  with  the  Crow 
Indians,  unless  the  ideal  community  is  that  in  which  we  all  become  des- 
picable despots  and  where  we  amuse  ourselves  by  calling  each  other 
hard  names. 

Indeed,  as  I  have  said  twice  before,  you  seem  to  me  to  deny  to  others 
the  right  to  make  and  carry  out  their  own  contracts  unless  these  con- 
tracts meet  with  your  approval. 

I  am  aware  now  of  my  error  in  assuming  that  the  authority  of  the 
State  rested  historically  on  any  social  contract,  and  those  points  which 
were  brought  in  in  your  reply  as  secondary  are  the  main  objections  to 
my  position. 

The  true  authority  of  the  State  rests,  as  Hearn  shows  in  his  "  Aryan 
Household,"  not  on  contract,  but  on  its  development ;  a  point  at  which 
I  hinted,  but  did  not  clearly  develop. 

However,  I  do  not  feel  warranted  in  entering  with  you  into  any  dis- 
cussion from  that  standpoint  till  I  am  able  to  find  out  more  clearly  what 
Liberty  means  by  development.  In  your  reply  to  me,  you  seem  to  think 
of  it  as  a  sort  of  cut-and-try  process  ;  this  may  be  a  Boston  idea  ab- 
sorbed from  the  "  Monday  Lectures,"  but  I  think  that  it  is  hardly  war- 
ranted by  either  Darwin  or  Spencer. 

I  tried  in  both  of  my  letters  to  insist  on  the  existence  of  a  general  line 
of  development  which  is  almost  outside  the  power  of  individuals,  and 
which  is  optimistic.     By  its  being  "optimistic"!  mean  that,  on   the 


principle  of  the  survival  of  the  fittest,  our  present  condition  is  the  best 
that  it  is  possible  for  us  to  have  attained.  You  do  not  deny  man's  divin- 
ity, "  neither  do  you  deny  his  degradation";  from  what  has  man  been 
degraded  ?  You  do  not  accept  an  Edenic  state  ;  then  what  do  you  mean 
by  "  man's  degradation  "? 

The  idea  of  development  which  admits  of  a  degradation  and  which 
expects  Liberty's  followers  to  arrest  the  "  wasteful  process  "  which  has 
already  made  trial  of  everything  else,  and  is  now  in  despair  about  to 
make  the  experiment  of  Anarchy  is  something  so  new  to  me  that  I  must 
ask  for  a  more  complete  exposition  of  the  system. 

Frederic  A.  C.  Perrink. 
Newark,  N.  J. 

Mr.  Perrine  should  read  more  carefully.  I  have  never  said 
that  it  is  "  each  man's  duty  to  break  all  contracts  as  soon  as 
he  has  become  convinced  that  they  were  made  foolishly." 
What  I  said  was  that,  if  a  man  should  sign  a  contract  to  part 
with  his  liberty  forever,  he  would  violate  it  as  soon  as  he  saw 
the  enormity  of  his  folly.  Because  I  believe  that  some  prom- 
ises are  better  broken  than  kept,  it  does  not  follow  that  I  think 
it  wise  always  to  break  a  foolish  promise.  On  the  contrary,  I 
deem  the  keeping  of  promises  such  an  important  matter  that 
only  in  the  extremest  cases  would  I  approve  their  violation. 
It  is  of  such  vital  consequence  ti  at  associates  should  be  able 
to  rely  upon  each  other  that  it  is  better  never  to  do  anything 
to  weaken  this  confidence  except  when  it  can  be  maintained 
only  at  the  expense  of  some  consideration  of  even  greater  im- 
portance. I  mean  by  evolution  just  what  Darwin  means  by  it, 
— namely,  the  process  of  selection  by  which,  out  of  all  the 
variations  that  occur  from  any  cause  whatever,  only  those  are 
preserved  which  are  best  adapted  to  the  environment.  Inas- 
much as  the  variations  that  perish  vastly  outnumber  those 
that  survive,  this  process  is  extremely  wasteful,  but  human  in- 
telligence can  greatly  lessen  the  waste.  I  am  perfectly  willing 
to  admit  its  optimism,  if  by  optimism  is  meant  the  doctrine 
that  everything  is  for  the  best  under  the  circumstances.  Opti- 
mism so  defined  is  nothing  more  than  the  doctrine  of  necessity. 
As  to  the  word  "degradation,"  evidently  Mr.  Perrine  is. una- 
ware of  all  its  meanings.  By  its  derivation  it  implies  descent 
from  something  higher,  but  it  is  also  used  by  the  best  English 
writers  to  express  a  low  condition  regardless  of  what  preceded 
it.     It  was  in  the  latter  sense  that  I  used  it. 

52  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 


[Liberty,  August  19,  1882.] 

Mr.  B.  W.  Ball  writes  the  best  articles  that  appear  in  the 
"  Index,"  which  is  not  saying  much,  and  among  the  best  that 
appear  in  any  of  the  weekHes,  which  is  saying  a  good  deal. 
We  were  the  more  gratified,  therefore,  to  find  him  treating  in 
a  recent  number  the  incipient,  but  increasing,  opposition  to  the 
existence  of  the  State.  He  at  least  is  clear-sighted  enough 
not  to  underrate  the  importance  of  the  advent  into  social  and 
political  agitation  of  so  straightforward,  consistent,  unterrified, 
determined,  and,  withal,  philosophically  rooted  a  factor  as 
modern  Anarchism,  although  his  editorial  chief,  Mr.  Under- 
wood, declares  that  the  issue  which  the  Anarchists  present 
"  admits  of  no  discussion." 

But  even  Mr.  Ball  shows,  by  his  article  on  "Anti-State  The- 
orists," that,  despite  his  promptriess  to  discover  and  be  im- 
pressed by  the  appearance  of  this  new  movement,  he  has  as  yet 
studied  it  too  superficially  to  know  anything  of  the  groundwork 
of  the  thought  which  produced,  animates,  and  guides  it.  In- 
deed this  first  shot  of  his  flies  so  wide  of  the  mark  that  cer- 
tain incidental  phrases  indicative  of  the  object  of  his  aim 
were  needed  to  reassure  us  that  Anarchism  really  was  his  target. 
In  a  word,  he  has  opened  fire  on  the  Anarchists  without  in- 
quiring where  we  stand. 

Where,  then,  does  he  suppose  us  to  stand  ?  His  central 
argument  against  us,  stated  briefly,  is  this  :  Where  crime  exists, 
force  must  exist  to  repress  it.  Who  denies  it  ?  Certainly  not 
Liberty;  certainly  not  the  Anarchists.  Anarchism  is  not  a 
revival  of  non-resistance,  although  there  may  be  non-resistants 
in  its  ranks.  The  direction  of  Mr.  Ball's  attack  implies  that 
we  would  let  robbery,  rape,  and  murder  make  havoc  in  the 
community  without  lifting  a  finger  to  stay  their  brutal,  bloody 
work.  On  the  contrary,  we  are  the  sternest  enemies  of  inva- 
sion of  person  and  property,  and,  although  chiefly  busy  in 
destroying  the  causes  thereof,  have  no  scruples  against  such 
heroic  treatment  of  its  immediate  manifestations  as  circum- 
stances and  wisdom  may  dictate.  It  is  true  that  we  look  for- 
ward to  the  ultimate  disappearance  of  the  necessity  of  force 
even  for  the  purpose  of  repressing  crime,  but  this,  though  in- 
volved in  it  as  a  necessary  result,  is  by  no  means  a  necessary 
condition  of  the  abolition  of  the  State. 

In  opposing  the  State,  therefore,  we  do  not  deny  Mr.  Ball's 


proposition,  but  distinctly  affirm  and  emphasize  it.  We  make 
war  upon  the  State  as  the  chief  invader  of  person  and  prop- 
erty, as  the  cause  of  substantially  all  the  crime  and  misery 
that  exist,  as  itself  the  most  gigantic  criminal  extant.  It  man- 
ufactures criminals  much  faster  than  it  punishes  them.  It 
exists  to  create  and  sustain  the  privileges  which  produce  eco- 
nomic and  social  chaos.  It  is  the  sole  support  of  the  monop- 
olies which  concentrate  wealth  and  learning  in  the  hands  of 
a  few  and  disperse  poverty  and  ignorance  among  the  masses, 
to  the  increase  of  which  inequality  the  increase  of  crime  is 
directly  proportional.  It  protects  a  minority  in  plundering 
the  majority  by  methods  too  subtle  to  be  understood  by  the 
victims,  and  then  punishes  such  unruly  members  of  the  major- 
ity as  attempt  to  plunder  others  by  methods  too  simple  and 
straightforward  to  be  recognized  by  the  State  as  legitimate, 
crowning  its  outrages  by  deluding  scholars  and  philosophers 
of  Mr.  Ball's  stamp  into  pleading,  as  an  excuse  for  its  infa- 
mous existence,  the  necessity  of  repressing  the  crime  which 
it  steadily  creates. 

Mr.  Ball, — to  his  honor  be  it  said, — during  anti-slavery  days, 
was  a  steadfast  abolitionist.  He  earnestly  desired  the  aboli- 
tion of  slavery.  Doubtless  he  remembers  how  often  he  was 
met  with  the  argument  that  slavery  was  necessary  to  keep  the 
unlettered  blacks  out  of  mischief,  and  that  it  would  be  unsafe 
to  give  freedom  to  such  a  mass  of  ignorance.  Mr.  Ball  in  those 
days  saw  through  the  sophistry  of  such  reasoning,  and  knew 
that  those  who  urged  it  did  so  to  give  some  color  of  moral  jus- 
tification to  their  conduct  in  living  in  luxury  on  the  enforced 
toil  of  slaves.  He  probably  was  wont  to  answer  them  some- 
thing after  this  fashion:  "It  is  the  institution  of  slavery  that 
keeps  the  blacks  in  ignorance,  and  to  justify  slavery  on  the 
ground  of  their  ignorance  is  to  reason  in  a  circle  and  beg  the 
very  question  at  issue." 

To-day  Mr.  Ball — -again  to  his  honor  be  it  said — is  a  relig- 
ious abolitionist.  He  earnestly  desires  the  abolition,  or  at  least 
the  disappearance,  of  the  Church.  How  frequently  he  must 
meet  or  hear  of  priests  who,  while  willing  to  privately  admit 
that  the  doctrines  of  the  Church  are  a  bundle  of  delusions,  ar- 
gue that  the  Church  is  necessary  to  keep  the  superstition-ridden 
masses  in  order,  and  that  their  release  from  the  mental  subjec- 
tion in  which  it  holds  them  would  be  equivalent  to  their  pre- 
cipitation into  unbridled  dissipation,  libertinism,  and  ultimate 
ruin.  Mr.  Ball  sees  clearly  through  the  fallacy  of  S,ll  such  logic, 
and  knows  that  those  who  use  it  do  so  to  gain  a  moral  footing 
on  which  to  statid  while  collecting  their  fees  from  the  poor 

54  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

fools  who  know  no  better  than  to  pay  them.  We  can  fancy 
him  replying  with  pardonable  indignation:  "  Cunning  knaves, 
you  know  very  well  that  it  is  your  Church  that  saturates  the 
people  with  superstition,  and  that  to  justify  its  existence  on 
the  ground  of  their  superstition  is  to  put  the  cart  before  the 
horse  and  assume  the  very  point  in  dispute." 

Now,  we  Anarchists  are  political  abolitionists.  We  earnestly 
desire  the  abolition  of  the  State.  Our  position  on  this  ques- 
tion is  parallel  in  most  respects  to  those  of  the  Church  aboli- 
tionists and  the  slavery  abolitionists.  But  in  this  case  Mr. 
Ball^ — to  his  disgrace  be  it  said — takes  the  side  of  the  tyrants 
against  the  abolitionists,  and  raises  the  cry  so  frequently  raised 
against  him:  The  State  is  necessary  to  keep  thieves  and  mur- 
derers in  subjection,  and,  were  it  not  for  the  State,  we  should 
all  be  garroted  in  the  streets  and  have  our  throats  cut  in  our 
beds.  As  Mr.  Ball  saw  through  the  sophistry  of  his  opponents, 
so  we  see  through  his,  precisely  similar  to  theirs,  though  we 
know  that  not  he,  but  the  capitalists  use  it  to  blind  the  people 
to  the  real  object  of  the  institution  by  which  they  are  able  to 
extort  from  labor  the  bulk  of  its  products.  We  answer  him  as 
he  did  them,  and  in  no  very  patient  mood:  Can  you  not  see 
that  it  is  the  State  that  creates  the  conditions  which  give  birth 
to  thieves  and  murderers,  and  that  to  justify  its  existence  on 
the  ground  of  the  prevalence  of  theft  and  murder  is  a  logical 
process  every  whit  as  absurd  as  those  used  to  defeat  your 
eftorts  to  abolish  slavery  and  the  Church  ? 

Once  for  all,  then,  we  are  not  opposed  to  the  punishment  of 
thieves  and  murderers;  we  are  opposed  to  their  manufacture. 
Right  here  Mr.  Ball  must  attack  us,  or  not  at  all.  When  next 
he  writes  on  Anarchism,  let  him  answer  these  questions  : 

Are  not  the  laboring  classes  deprived  of  their  earnings  by 
usury  in  its  tlijee  forms, — interest,  rent,  and  profit? 

Is  not  such  deprivation  the  principal  cause  of  poverty  ? 

Is  not  poverty,  directly  or  indirectly,  the  principal  cause  of 
illegal  crime? 

Is  not  usury  dependent  upon  monopoly,  and  especially  upon 
the  land  and  money  monopolies  ? 

Could  these  monopolies  exist  without  the  State  at  their  back  ? 

Does  not  by  far  the  larger  part  of  the  work  of  the  State  con- 
sist in  establishing  and  sustaining  these  monopolies  and  other 
results  of  special  legislation  ? 

Would  not  the  abolition  of  these  invasive  functions  of  the 
State  lead  gradually  to  the  disappearance  of  crime  ? 

If  so,  would  not  the  disappearance  of  crime  render  the  pro- 
tective functions  of  the  State  superfluous  ?  • 


In  that  case,  would  not  the  State  have  been  entirely- 
abolished  ?  * 

Would  not  this  be  the  realization  of  Anarchy  and  the  ful- 
filment of  Proudhon's  prophecy  of  "the  dissolution  of  govern- 
ment in  the  economic  organism  "? 

To  each  of  these  questions  we  answer:  Yes.  That  answer 
constitutes  the  ground  on  which  we  stand  and  from  which  we 
refuse  to  be  drawn  away.  We  invite  Mr.  Ball  to  meet  us  on  ft. 
and  whip  us  if  he  can. 

TU-WHIT  !     TU-WHOO! 

{Liieriy,  October  24,  1885.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty: 
Will  you  give  direct  and  explicit  answers  to  the  following  questions  ? 

I  certainly  will,  wherever  the  questions  are  direct  and 

Does  Anarchism  recognize  the  right  of  one  individual  or  any  number 
of  individuals  to  determine  what  course  of  action  is  just  or  unjust  for 
others  ? 

Yes,  if  by  the  word  unjust  is  meant  invasive;  otherwise,  no. 
Anarchism  recognizes  the  right  of  one  individual  or  any  num- 
ber of  individuals  to  determine  that  no  man  shall  invade  the 
equal  liberty  of  his  fellow;  beyond  this  it  recognizes  no  right 
of  control  over  individual  conduct. 

Does  it  recognize  the  right  to  restrain  or  control  their  actions,  what- 
ever they  may  be  ? 

See  previous  answer. 

Does  it  recognize  the  right  to  arrest,  try,  convict,  and  punish  for 
wrong  doing  ? 

Yes,  if  by  the  words  wrong  doing  is  meant  invasion;  other- 
wise, no. 

Does  it  believe  in  jury  trial  ? 

Anarchism,  as  such,  neither  believes  nor  disbelieves  in  jury 

*  In  this  series  of  questions  the  word  "  State  "  is  used  in  a  sense  inclu- 
sive of  voluntary  protective  associations,  whereas  in  all  other  parts  o:" 
this  volume  it  is  used  in  a  sense  exclusive  thereof.  Attention  is  called 
to  this  inconsistency  in  terminology,  in  order  to  prevent  misunderstand,- 

56  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

trial;  it  is  a  matter  of  expediency.     For  myself,  I  am  inclined 
to  favor  it. 

If  so,  how  is  the  jury  to  be  selected  ? 

Another  matter  of  expediency.  Speaking  for  myself  again, 
I  think  the  jury  should  be  selected  by  drawing  twelve  names 
by  lot  from  a  wheel  containing  the  names  of  all  the  citizens 
in  the  community, — jury  service,  of  course,  not  to  be  compul- 
sory, though  it  may  rightfully  be  made,  if  it  should  seem  best, 
a  condition  of  membership  in  a  voluntary  association. 

Does  it  propose  prisons,  or  other  places  of  confinement,  for  such  as 
prove  unsafe  ? 

Another  matter  of  expediency.  If  it  can  find  no  better  in- 
strument of  resistance  to  invasion.  Anarchism  will  use  prisons. 

Does  it  propose  taxation  to  support  the  tribunals  of  justice,  and  these 
places  of  confinement  and  restraint  ? 

Anarchism  proposes  to  deprive  no  individual  of  his  property, 
or  any  portion  of  it,  without  his  consent,  unless  the  individual 
is  an  invader,  in  which  case  Anarchism  will  take  enough  of  his 
property  from  him  to  repair  the  damage  done  by  his  invasion. 
Contribution  to  the  support  of  certain  things  may,  like  jury 
service,  rightfully  be  made  a  condition  of  membership  in  a 
voluntary  association. 

How  is  justice  to  be  determined  in  a  given  case  ? 

This  question  not  being  explicit,  I  cannot  answer  it  explic- 
itly. I  can  only  say  that  justice  is  to  be  determined  on  the 
principle  of  the  equal  liberty  of  all,  and  by  such  mechanism  as 
may  prove  best  fitted  to  secure  its  object. 

Will  Anarchists  wait  till  all  who  know  anything  about  it  are  agreed  ? 

This  question  is  grammatically  defective.  It  is  not  clear 
what  "  it  "  refers  to.  It  may  refer  to  justice  in  the  previous 
question,  or  it  may  refer  to  Anarchism,  or  it  may  refer  to  some 
conception  hidden  in  the  recesses  of  the  writer's  bra:n.  At  a 
venture  I  will  make  this  assertion,  hoping  it  may  hit  tne  mark. 
When  Anarchists  are  agreed  in  numbers  sufficient  to  enable 
them  to  accomplish  whatever  special  work  lies  before  them, 
they  will  probably  go  about  it. 

Will  they  take  the  majority  rule  ?  Or  will  they  sustain  a  small  fraction 
in  their  findings  ? 

Inasmuch  as  Anarchistic  associations  recognize  the  right  of 
secession,  they  may  utilize  the  ballot,  if  they  see  fit  to  do  so. 
If  the  question  decided  by  ballot  is  so  vital  that  the  minority 



thinks  it  more  important  to  carry  out  its  own  views  than  to 
preserve  common  action,  the  minority  can  withdraw.  In  no 
case  can  a  minority,  however  small,  be  governed  against  its 

Does  Anarchism  mean  the  observance  and  enforcement  of  natural  law, 
so  far  as  can  be  discovered,  or  does  it  mean  the  opposite  or  som.ething 
else  ? 

Anarchism  does  mean  exactly  the  observance  and  enforce- 
ment of  the  natural  law  of  Liberty,  and  it  does  not  mean  the 
opposite  or  anything  else. 

If  it  means  that  all  such  as  do  not  conform  to  the  natural  law,  as  under- 
stood by  the  masses,  shall  be  made  to  suffer  through  the  machinery  of 
organized  authority,  no  matter  under  what  name  it  goes,  it  is  human 
government  as  really  as  anything  we  now  have. 

Anarchism  knows  nothing  about  "  natural  law  as  understood 
by  the  masses."  It  means  the  observance  and  enforcement  by 
each  individual  of  the  natural  law  of  Liberty  as  understood 
by  himself.  When  a  number  of  individuals  who  understand 
this  natural  law  to  mean  the  equal  liberty  of  all  organize  on  a 
voluntary  basis  to  resist  the  invasion  of  this  liberty,  they  form  a 
very  different  thing  from  any  human  government  we  now  have. 
They  do  not  form  a  government  at  all ;  they  organize  a  rebellion 
against  government.  For  government  is  invasion,  and  nothing 
else  ;  and  resistance  to  invasion  is  the  antithesis  of  govern- 
ment. All  the  organized  governments  of  to  day  are  such  be- 
cause they  are  invasive.  In  the  first  place,  all  their  acts  are 
indirectly  invasive,  because  dependent  upon  the  primary  in- 
vasion called  taxation  ;  and,  in  the  second  place,  by  far  the 
greater  number  of  their  acts  are  directly  invasive,  because  di- 
rected, not  to  the  restraint  of  invaders,  but  to  the  denial  of 
freedom  to  the  people  in  their  industrial,  commercial,  social, 
domestic,  and  individual  lives.  No  man  with  brains  in  his  head 
can  honestly  say  that  such  institutions  are  identical  in  their 
nature  with  voluntary  associations,  supported  by  voluntary 
contributions,  which  confine  themselves  to  resisting  invasion. 

If  it  means  that  the  undeveloped  and  vicious  shall  not  be  interfered 
with,  it  means  that  the  world  shall  suffer  all  the  disorder  and  crime  that 
depravity  unhindered  can  consummate. 

S.  Blodgett. 
Grahamville,  Florida. 

I  hope  that  ray  readers  will  take  in  Mr.  Blodgett's  final  as- 
sertion in  all  its  length  and  breadth  and  depth.  Just  see  what 
it  says.  It  says  that  penal  institutions  are  the  only  promoters 
of  virtue-     Education   goes   for  nothing  ;    example  goes  for 

58  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

nothing  ;  public  opinion  goes  for  nothing ;  social  ostracism 
goes  for  nothing  ;  freedom  goes  for  nothing ;  competition 
goes  for  nothing  ;  increase  of  material  welfare  goes  for  nothing; 
decrease  of  temptation  goes  for  nothing  ;  health  goes  for 
nothing  ;  approximate  equality  of  conditions  goes  for  nothing  : 
all  these  are  utterly  powerless  as  preventives  or  curatives  of 
immorality^  The  only  forces  on  earth  that  tend  to  develop 
the  undeveloped  and  to  make  the  vicious  virtuous  are  our 
judges,  our  jails,  and  our  gibbets.  Mr.  Blodgett,  I  believe, 
repudiates  the  Christian  doctrine  that  hell  is  the  only  safeguard 
of  religious  morality,  but  he  re-creates  it  by  affirming  that  a 
hell  upon  earth  is  the  only  safeguard  of  natural  morality. 

Why  do  Mr.  Blodgett  and  all  those  who  agree  with  him  so 
persistently  disregard  the  constructive  side  of  Anarchism  ?  The 
,  chief  claim  of  Anarchism  for  its  principles  is  that  the  abolition 
of  legal  monopoly  will  so  transform  social  conditions  that  ignor- 
ance, vice,  and  crime  will  gradually  disappear.  However  often 
this  may  be  stated  and  however  definitely  it  may  be  elabor- 
ated, the  Blodgetts  will  approach  you,  apparently  gravely  un- 
conscious that  any  remark  has  been  made,  and  say  :  "  If  there 
are  no  policemen,  the  criminal  classes  will  run  riot."  Tell 
them  that,  when  the  system  of  commercial  cannibalism  which 
rests  on  legal  privilege  disappears,  cutthroats  will  disappear 
with  it,  and  they  will  not  deny  it  or  attempt  to  disprove  it,  but 
they  will  first  blink  at  you  a  moment  with  their  owl-like  eyes, 
and  then  from  out  their  mouths  will  come  the  old,  familiar 
hoot  :  "  Tu-whit !  tu-whoo  !  If  a  ruffian  tries  to  cut  your  throat, 
what  are  you  going  to  do  about  it  ?     Tu-whit  !  tu-whoo  !  " 


[  Liberty^  December  31,  1887.] 

Old  readers  of  this  paper  will  remember  the  appearance  in 
its  columns,  about  two  years  ago,  of  a  series  of  questions  pro- 
pounded by  the  writer  of  the  following  letter  and  accompanied 
by  editorial  answers-  To-day  my  interrogator  questions  me 
further  ;  this  time,  however,  no  longer  as  a  confident  comba- 
tant, but  as  an  earnest  inquirer.  As  I  replied  to  him  then  ac- 
cording to  his  pugnacity,  so  I  reply  to  him  now  according  to 
his  friendliness, 

THE  Individual,  sociEtv,  AND  the  State.         59 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

Will  you  please  insert  the  following  questions  in  your  paper  with  your 
answers  thereto,  and  oblige  an  ethical,  political,  and  humanitarian  student  ? 

1.  Do  you,  as  an  Anarchist,  believe  any  one  human  being  ever  has  the 
right  to  judge  for  another  what  he  ought  or  ought  not  to  do  ? 

The  terms  of  this  question  need  definition.  Assuming, 
however,  the  word  "  right "  to  be  used  in  the  sense  of  the 
limit  which  the  principle  of  equal  liberty  logically  places  upon 
might,  and  the  phrase  "judge  for  another  "to  include  not 
only  the  formation  of  judgment  but  the  enforcement  thereof, 
and  the  word  "  ought  "  to  be  equivalent  to  must  or  shall,  I  an- 
swer :  Yes.  But  the  only  cases  in  which  a  human  being  ever 
has  such  right  over  another  are  those  in  which  the  other's 
doing  or  failure  to  do  involves  an  overstepping  of  the  limit  upor^ 
might  just  referred  to.  That  is  what  was  meant  when  it  was 
said  in  an  early  number  of  Liberty  that  "  man's  only  duty  is 
to  respect  others'  rights."  It  might  well  have  been  added  that 
man's  only  right  over  others  is  to  enforce  that  duty. 

2.  Do  you  believe  any  number  combined  ever  have  such  a  right  ? 

Yes.  The  right  of  any  number  combined  is  whatever  right 
the  individuals  combining  possess  and  voluntarily  delegate  to 
it.  It  follows  from  this,  and  from  the  previous  answer,  that, 
as  individuals  sometimes  have  the  right  in  question,  so  a  num- 
ber combined  may  have  it. 

3.  Do  you  believe  one,  or  any  number,  ever  have  the  right  to  prevent 
another  from  doing  as  he  pleases  ? 

Yes.  This  question  is  answered  by  the  two  previous  an- 
swers taken  together. 

4.  Do  you  believe  it  admissible,  as  an  Anarchist,  to  use  what  influence 
can  be  exerted  without  the  aid  of  brute  force  to  induce  one  to  live  as 
seems  to  you  best  ? 

Please  explain  what  influence,  if  any,  you  think  might  be  employed  in 
harmony  with  Anarchistic  principles. 

Yes.  The  influence  of  reason  ;  the  influence  of  persuasion  ; 
the  influence  of  attraction  ;  the  influence  of  education  ;  the 
influence  of  example  ;  the  influence  of  public  opinion  ;  the  in- 
fluence of  social  ostracism  ;  the  influence  of  unhampered  eco- 
nomic forces  ;  the  influence  of  better  prospects  ;  and  doubtless 
other  influences  which  do  not  now  occur  to  me. 

5.  Do  you  believe  there  is  such  a  thing  as  private  ownership  of  prop- 
erty, viewed  from  an  Anarchistic  standpoint  ?  If  so,  please  give  a  way  or 
rule  to  determine  whether  one  owns  a  thing  or  not. 

Yes.  Anarchism  being  neither  more  nor  less  than  the  prin- 
ciple of  equal  liberty,  property,  in  an  Anarchistic  society,  must 

6o  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

accord  with  this  principle.  The  only  form  of  property  which 
meets  this  condition  is  that  which  secures  each  in  the  posses- 
sion of  his  own  products,  or  of  such  products  of  others  as  he 
may  have  obtained  unconditionally  without  the  use  of  fraud 
or  force,  and  in  the  realization  of  all  titles  to  such  products 
which  he  may  hold  by  virtue  of  free  contract  with  others. 
Possession,  unvitiated  by  fraud  or  force,  of  values  to  which  no 
one  else  holds  a  title  unvitiated  by  fraud  or  force,  and  the  posses- 
sion of  similarly  unvitiated  titles  to  values,  constitute  the  An- 
archistic criterion  of  ownership.  By  fraud  I  do  not  mean 
that  which  is  simply  contrary  to  equity,  but  deceit  and  false 
pretence  in  all  their  forms. 

,  6.  Is  it  right  to  confine  such  as  injure  others  and  prove  themselves  un- 
safe to  be  at  large  ?  If  so,  is  there  a  way  consistent  with  Anarchy  to 
determine  the  nature  of  the  confinement,  and  how  long  it  shall  continue  ? 

Yes.  Such  confinement  is  sometimes  right  because  it  is 
sometimes  the  wisest  way  of  vindicating  the  right  asserted  in 
the  answer  to  the  first  question.  There  are  many  ways  con- 
sistent with  Anarchy  of  determining  the  nature  and  duration 
of  such  confinement.  Jury  trial,  in  its  original  form,  is  one 
way,  and  in  my  judgment  the  best  way  yet  devised. 

7.  Are  the  good  people  under  obligations  to  feed,  clothe,  and  make 
comfortable  such  as  they  find  it  necessary  to  confine  ? 

No.  In  other  words,  it  is  allowable  to  punish  invaders  by 
torture.  But,  if  the  "good  "  people  are  not  fiends,  they  are 
not  likely  to  defend  themselves  by  torture  until  the  penalties 
of  death  and  tolerable  confinement  have  shown  themselves 
destitute  of  efficacy. 

I  ask  these  questions  partly  for  myself,  and  partly  because  I  believe 
many  others  have  met  difficulties  on  the  road  to  Anarchism  which  a 
rational,  lucid  answer  would  remove. 

Perhaps  you  have  been  over  this  ground  many  times,  and  may  feel  im- 
patient to  find  any  one  as  much  in  the  dark  as  I,  but  all  would-be  reform- 
ers have  to  keep  reiterating  their  position  to  all  new-comers,  and  I  trust 
you  will  try  and  make  everything  clear  to  me,  and  to  others  who  may  be 
as  unfortunate  as  myself.  S.  Blodgett. 

Grahamville,  Florida. 

Time  and  space  are  the  only  limits  to  my  willingness  to  an- 
swer intelligent  questions  regarding  that  science  whose  rudi- 
ments I  profess  to  teach,  and  I  trust  that  my  efforts,  on  this 
occasion,  may  not  prove  entirely  inadequate  to  the  commend- 
able end  which  my  very  welcome  correspondent  had  in  view. 



\  [Ltierty,  January  28, 1888.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

I  thank  you  for  your  courteous  treatment  of  my  questions  in  your  issue 
of  December  31,  and,  as  you  express  a  willingness  in  this  direction,  I  will 
follow  in  the  same  line,  and  trust  you  will  still  think  my  questions  are  per- 
tinent and  proper. 

Do  you  think  property  rights  can  inhere  in  anything  not  produced  by 
the  labor  or  aid  of  man  ? 

You  say,  "  Anarchism  being  neither  more  nor  less  than  the  principle  of 
equal  liberty,"  etc.  Now,  if  government  were  so  reformed  as  to  confine 
its  operations  to  the  protection  of  "equal  liberty,"  would  you  have  any 
quarrel  with  it  ?     If  so,  what  and  why  ? 

Will  you  please  explain  what  "jury  trial  in  its  original  form  "  was  ?  I 
never  knew  that  it  was  ever  essentially  different  from  what  it  is  now. 

S.  Blodgett. 

I  do  not  believe  in  any  inherent  right  of  property.  Property 
is  a  social  convention,  and  may  assume  many  forms.  Only 
that  form  of  property  can  endure,  however,  which  is  based  on 
the  principle  of  equal  liberty.  All  other  forms  must  result  in 
misery,  crime,  and  conflict.  The  Anarchistic  form  of  property 
has  already  been  defined,  in  the  previous  answers  to  Mr.  Blod- 
gett, as  "  that  which  secures  each  in  the  possession  of  his  own 
products,  or  of  such  products  of  others  as  he  may  have  obtained 
unconditionally  without  the  use  of  fraud  or  force,  and  in 
the  realization  of  all  titles  to  such  products  which  he  inay  hold 
by  virtue  of  free  contract  with  others."  It  will  be  seen  from 
this  definition  that  Anarchistic  property  concerns  only  prod- 
ucts. But  anything  is  a  product  upon  which  human  labor 
has  been  expended,  whether  it  be  a  piece  of  iron  or  a  piece  of 

If  "  government  "  confined  itself  to  the  protection  of  equal 
liberty.  Anarchists  would  have  no  quarrel  with  it  ;  but  such 
protection  they  do  not  call  government.  Criticism  of  the  An- 
archistic idea  which  does  not  consider  Anarchistic  definitions 
is  futile.  The  Anarchist  defines  government  as  invasion,  noth- 
ing more  or  less.  Protection  against  invasion,  then,  is  the 
opposite  of  government.  Anarchists,  in  favoring  the  abolition 
of  government,  favor  the  abolition  of  invasion,  not  of   protec- 

*  It  should  be  stated,  however,  that  in  the  case  of  land,  or  of  any  other 
material  the  supply  of  which  is  so  limited  that  all  cannot  hold  it  in  un- 
limited quantities,  Anarchism  undertakes  to  protect  no  titles  except  such  as 
are  based  on  actual  occupancy  and  use. 

62  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK, 

tion  against  invasion.  It  may  tend  to  a  clearer  understanding 
if  I  add  that  all  States,  to  become  non-invasive,  must  abandon 
first  the  primary  act  of  invasion  upon  which  all  of  them  rest, — 
the  collection  of  taxes  by  force, — and  that  Anarchists  look  up- 
on the  change  in  social  conditions  which  will  result  when 
economic  freedom  is  allowed  as  far  more  efficiently  protective 
against  invasion  than  any  machinery  of  restraint,  in  the  ab- 
sence of  economic  freedom,  possibly  can  be. 

Jury  trial  in  its  original  form  differed  from  its  present  forms 
both  in  the  manner  of  selecting  the  jury  and  in  the  powers  of 
the  jury  selected.  It  was  originally  selected  by  drawing  twelve 
names  from  a  wheel  containing  the  names  of  the  whole  body 
of  citizens,  instead  of  by  putting  a  special  panel  of  jurors 
through  a  sifting  process  of  examination  ;  and  by  its  original 
powers  it  was  judge,  not  of  the  facts  alone,  as  is  generally  the 
case  now,  but  of  the  law  and  the  justice  of  the  law  and  the  ex- 
tent and  nature  of  the  penalty.  More  information  regarding 
this  matter  may  be  found  in  Lysander  Spooner's  pamphlet, 
"  Free  Political  Institutions." 


[Liberty,  April  28,  1888.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

I  have  one  more  question,  and  it  does  not  occur  to  me  now  that  I  shall 
want  to  trouble  you  further  in  this  way. 

You  say:  "  I  do  not  believe  in  any  inherent  right  of  property.  Property 
is  a  social  convention." 

Now,  does  Anarchism  recognize  the  propriety  of  compelling  individuals 
to  regard  social  conventionalities  ? 

S.  Blodgett. 
Grahamville,  Florida. 

Readers  who  desire  to  refresh  their  minds  regarding  the  ser- 
ies of  questions  which  the  above  includes  should  consult  Nos. 
iiSandiiy.  The  answer  to  the  first  question  in  No.  115  is 
really  an  answer  to  the  question  now  put.  There  I  said  that 
the  only  compulsion  of  individuals  the  propriety  of  which  An- 
archism recognizes  is  that  which  compels  invasive  individuals 
to  refrain  from  overstepping  the  principle  of  equal  liberty. 
Now,  equal  liberty  itself  being  a  social  convention  (for  there 
are  no  natural  rights),  it  is  obvious  that  Anarchism  recognizes 
the  propriety  of  compelling  individuals  to  regard  one  social 
convention.     But  it  does  not  follow  from  this  that  it  recognizes 


the  propriety  of  compelling  individuals  to  regard  any  and  all 
social  conventions.  Anarchism  protects  equal  liberty  (of  which 
property  based  on  labor  is  simply  an  expression  in  a  particular 
sphere),  not  because  it  is  a  social  convention,  but  because  it  is 
equal  liberty, — that  is,  because  it  is  Anarchism  itself.  An- 
archism may  properly  protect  itself,  but  there  its  mission  ends. 
This  self-protection  it  must  effect  through  voluntary  associa- 
tion, however,  and  not  through  government;  for  to  protect 
equal  liberty  through  government  is  to  invade  equal  liberty. 


{Liberty,  June  9,  i838.J 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty: 

I  do  not  write  this  with  the  idea  that  you  will  publish  it,  for  the  tardiness 
with  which  you  inserted  my  last  question  indicates  that  you  do  not  care  for 
any  more  of  me  in  your  paper.  You  are  too  good  a  reasoner  to  not  know 
that,  if  it  is  proper  to  interfere  to  compel  people  "to  regard  one  social 
convention,"  it  is  not  improper  to  force  another,  or  all,  providing  there  is 
any  satisfaction  in  doing  so.  If  "  there  are  no  natural  rights,"  there  is  no 
occasion  for  conscientious  or  other  scruples,  providing  the  power  exists. 
Therefore  there  is  no  guarantee  that  there  will  be  even  as  much  individual- 
ity permitted  under  Anarchistic  rule  as  under  the  present  plan,  for  the 
principle  of  human  rights  is  now  recognized,  however  far  removed  we  may 
be  from  giving  the  true  application.  The  "  equal  liberty"  "social  con- 
vention "  catch-phrase  can  be  stamped  out  as  coolly  as  any  other.  There 
are  but  two  views  to  take  of  any  proposed  action, — that  of  right  and  that 
of  expediency, — and  as  you  have  knocked  the  idea  of  right  out,  the  thing  is 
narrowed  to  the  lowest  form  of  selfishness.  There  certainly  can  be  no 
more  reason  why  Anarchists,  who  deny  every  obligation  on  the  ground  of 
right,  should  be  consistent  in  standing  by  the  platform  put  forward  when 
weak,  than  that  ordinary  political  parties  should  stand  by  their  promises 
made  when  out  of  power. 

I  called  "  equal  liberty  "a  "catch-phrase."  It  sounds  nice,  but  when 
we  criticise  it,  it  is  hollow.  For  instance,  "equal  liberty  "  may  give  every 
one  the  same  opportunity  to  take  freely  from  the  same  cabbage  patch,  the 
same  meat  barrel,  and  the  same  grain-bin.  So  long  as  no  one  interferes 
with  another,  he  is  not  overstepping  the  principle  of  "equal  liberty,"  but 
when  one  undertakes  to  keep  others  away,  he  is,  and  you  can  only  justify 
the  proscription  by  saying  that  one  ought  to  have  liberty  there,  and  the 
others  had  not, — that  those  who  did  nothing  in  the  production  ought  not  to 
have  "  equal  liberty  "  to  appropriate.  But  if  nobody  has  any  "natural 
rights,"  then  the  thief  not  only  does  not  interfere  with  the  ' '  equal  liberty  " 
of  others,  but  he  does  them  no  wrong.  You  have  done  well,  considering 
your  opportunity,  but  your  cause  is  weak.  You  are  mired  and  tangled  in 
the  web  you  have  been  weaving  beyond  material  help.  Still,  I  see  a  ray 
of  hope  for  Anarchism.  Just  unite  with  the  Christian  Science  metaphy- 
sicians, and  the  amalgamation  will  be  an  improvement.     As  I  have  looked 

64  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

it  over,  I  am  sure  the  chemical  combination  will  be  perfect,  and  the  result 
will  be  the  most  pleasing  nectar  ever  imbibed  by  suffering  humanity. 

S.  Blodgett. 

As  Mr.  Blodgett  says,  it  is  as  proper  to  enforce  one  social 
convention  as  another  "  providing  there  is  any  satisfaction  in 
doing  so."  But  Anarchists,  from  the  very  fact  that  they  are 
Anarchists,  take  no  satisfaction  in  enforcing  any  social  con- 
vention except  that  of  equal  liberty,  that  being  the  essence  of 
their  creed.  Now,  Mr.  Blodgett  asked  me  to  define  the  sphere 
of  force  as  viewed  by  Anarchism  ;  he  did  not  ask  me  to  define 
any  other  view  of  it.  To  say  that  an  Anarchist  is  entitled  to 
enforce  all  social  conventions  is  to  say  that  he  is  entitled  to 
cease  to  be  an  Anarchist,  which  nobody  denies.  But  if  he 
should  cease  to  be  an  Anarchist,  the  remaining  Anarchists 
would  still  be  entitled  to  stop  him  from  invading  them.  I  hope 
that  Mr.  Blodgett  is  a  good  enough  reasoner  to  perceive  this 
distinction,  but  I  fear  that  he  is  not. 

It  is  true,  also,  that,  if  there  are  no  natural  rights,  there  is 
no  occasion  for  conscientious  scruples.  But  it  is  not  true  that 
there  is  no  occasion  for  "  other  scruples."  A  scruple,  accord- 
ing to  Webster,  is  "  hesitation  as  to  action  from  the  difficulty 
of  determining  what  is  right  or  expedient."  Why  should  not 
disbelievers  in  natural  rights  hesitate  on  grounds  of  expedi- 
ency ?  In  other  words,  why  should  they  be  unscrupulous  ? 

It  is  true,  again,  that  Anarchism  does  not  recognize  the 
principle  of  human  rights.  But  it  recognizes  human  equality 
as  a  necessity  of  stable  society.  How,  then,  can  it  be  charged 
with  failing  to  guarantee  individuality  ? 

It  is  true,  further,  that  equal  liberty  can  be  stamped  out  as 
coolly  as  anything  else.  But  people  who  believe  in  it  will  not 
be  likely  to  stamp  it  out.     And  Anarchists  believe  in  it. 

It  is  true,  still  further,  that  there  are  only  two  standards  of 
conduct, — right  and  expediency.  But  why  does  elimination 
of  right  narrow  the  thing  down  to  the  lowest  form  of  selfish- 
ness ?  Is  expediency  exclusive  of  the  higher  forms  of  selfish- 
ness ?  I  deem  it  expedient  to  be  honest.  Shall  I  not  be 
honest,  then,  regardless  of  any  idea  of  right  ?  Or  is  honesty 
the  lowest  form  of  selfishness  ? 

It  is  far  from  true,  however,  that  Anarchists  have  no  more 
reason  to  stand  by  their  platform  than  ordinary  politicians 
have  to  stand  by  theirs.  Anarchists  desire  the  advantages  of 
harmonious  society  and  know  that  consistent  adherence  to 
their  platform  is  the  only  way  to  get  them,  while  ordinary  pol- 
iticians desire  only  offices  and  "boodle,"  and  make  platforms 
simply  to  catch  votes.      Even   if   it  were   conceivable   that 


hypocrites  should  step  upon  the  Anarchistic  platform  simply 
for  their  temporary  convenience,  would  that  invalidate  the 
principle  of  Anarchism  ?  Does  Mr.  Blodgett  reject  all  good 
principles  the  moment  they  are  embodied  in  party  platforms 
by  political  tficksters  ? 

General  opportunity  for  all  to  take  freely  from  the  same 
cabbage  patch  is  not  equal  liberty.  As  was  happily  pointed 
out  some  time  ago  by  a  writer  for  the  New  York  Truth 
Seeker,  whose  article  was  copied  into  Liberty,  equal  liberty 
does  not  mean  equal  slavery  or  equal  invasion.  It  means  the 
largest  amount  of  liberty  compatible  with  equality  and  mu- 
tuality of  respect,  on  the  part  of  individuals  living  in  society, 
for  their  respective  spheres  of  action.  To  appropriate  the 
cabbages  which  another  has  grown  is  not  to  respect  his  sphere 
of  action.  Hence  equal  liberty  would  recognize  no  such  con- 
duct as  proper. 

The  sobriety  with  which  Mr.  Blodgett  recently  renewed  his 
questions  led  me  to  believe  that  he  did  not  relish  the  admix- 
ture of  satire  with  argument.  But  the  exquisite  touch  of 
irony  with  which  he  concludes  the  present  letter  seems  to  in- 
dicate the  contrary.  If  so,  let  him  say  the  word,  and  he  shall 
be  accommodated.  The  author  of  "  Tu-Whit  1  Tu-Whoo  ! " 
is  not  yet  at  his  wits'  end. 


[Liberty,  Aug-.  4,  t888.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty: 

I  was  honest  in  the  questions  I  asked  concerning  the  foundation  on 
which  Anarchism  is  aiming  to  build.  I  had  thought  considerably  on  the 
matter,  and  read  in  Liberty  as  it  came  in  my  way,  and  while  the  ideal 
was  fair  to  look  upon,  it  seemed  to  me  one  must  have  a  loose  method  of 
reasoning  to  suppose  its  practical  realization  possible.  I  also  found  that 
those  of  my  acquaintance  who  favored  the  idea  reasoned  from  the  stand- 
point of  an  imaginary,  instead  of  a  real,  humanity,  which  left  their  argu- 
ments on  the  subject  of  no  practical  value. 

I  desired  to  see  .what  showing  you  could  give,  if  put  to  the  test.  I 
was  ready  to  become  an  Anarchist,  if  Anarchism  could  be  made  to  ap- 
pear sensible,  though  I  own  I  believed  you  would  make  the  failure  you 
have.  In  one  thing  I  have  been  disappointed  and  pleased.  You  have 
had  the  manliness  lo  face  the  dilemma  in  which  you  found  yourself,  and 
published  my  last  question,  and  my  summing-up,  subsequently.  I  will 
give  you  credit  for  straight  work,  and  this  is  more  than  I  expected  to  be 
able  to  do. 

66  Instead  of  a  Boolt. 

When  I  wrote  my  last,  I  thought  I  was  done,  whether  you  published 
it  or  not,  and  I  should  have  stopped  there,  if  you  had  not  published  it, 
or,  if  you  had  published  it,  and  simply  made  comments  thereon,  no  mat- 
ter what  those  comments  might  have  been  ;  but  the  challenge  and  threat 
bring  me  out  once  more.  I  will  say  on  that,  that  I  never  thought  of 
finding  fault  or  being  displeased  with  your  "  Tu-Whit  !  Tu-Whoo  !  "  and 
that  I  do  "  relish  the  admixture  of  satire  with  argument  "  on  fitting  oc- 
casions. I  am  as  much  at  home  in  a  sea  of  controversy  and  irony  as  a 
fish  is  in  water,  so  there  is  no  occasion  for  your  holding  up  out  of  sym- 
pathy for  me.  Just  give  me  the  intellectual  thumps  when  you  feel  like  it 
and  can,  and  j'ou  need  take  no  pains  to  have  them  sugar-coated. 

And  now  for  a  fe\*  words  on  your  last  remarks.  You  accept  my  state- 
ment that  it  is  as  proper  to  enforce  one  social  convention  as  another,  pro- 
vided there  is  any  satisfaction  in  doing  so.  I  find  the  difference  between 
an  Anarchist  and  a  Governmentalist  is  nothing  here.  If  there  is  any 
difference  in  the  action  of  the  two,  it  is  not  a  difference  in  the  principles 
which  control  it.  There  might  be  a  difference  in  method,  and  a  difference 
in  the  Mind  oi  social  conventions  which  they  wish  to  enforce.  On  both 
of  these  points  I  suppose  I  should  have  some  sympathy  with  Anarchists 
like  you.  But  when  we  prevent  another  from  doing  as  he  otherwise 
would,  we  govern  him  in  that  particular,  and  I  see  no  advantage  in  deny- 
ing it,  or  in  trying  to  find  another  term  to  express  the  fact.  In  my 
judgment  it  is  better  to  not  attempt  to  beat  around  the  bush,  but  to  state 
plainly  the  social  conventions  and  rights  (for  such  as  me  who  believe  in 
rights)  we  wish  to  enforce,  and  such  restrictions  as  we  wish  to  free  the 
world  from,  and  fight  it  out  above  board  and  on  that  line. 

You  say  "opportunity  for  all  to  take  freely  from  the  same  cabbage 
patch  is  not  equal  liberty."  If  all  have  opportunity  to  take  freely,  I  do 
not  know  how  any  one  can  have  any  greater  liberty,  and  if  all  have  all 
there  is,  it  looks  to  me  "equal."  And  further;  I  maintain  that  "equal 
slavery  "  is  equal  liberty.  It  is  impossible  to  make  one's  slavery  com- 
plete ;  and  no  matter  how  small  an  amount  of  liberty  is  left,  if  the  same 
amount  is  left  for  all,  it  is  "  equal  liberty."  Equal  does  not  mean  much 
or  little,  but  to  be  on  a  par  with  others.  "Equal  liberty"  is  not  the 
phrase  to  express  what  you  are  after,  and  you  will  have  to  try  again,  or 
let  it  go  that  your  ideas  are  either  muddled  or  inexpressible. 

It  is  also  puzzling  to  know  what  you  mean  by  "  invasion."  It  cannot 
be  you  mean  invasion  of  rights,  because  you  claim  there  are  no 
rights  to  invade.  But  perhaps  you  are  having  in  view  some  "  social  con- 
vention "  to  be  invaded.  In  any  case,  "equal  invasion"  Is  "equal  lib- 
erty." Suppose  you  do  not  "  respect  another's  sphere  of  action,"  that 
want  of  respect  does  not  limit  his  liberty  ;  it  is  not  necessary  for  him  to 
respect  yours,  and  that  leaves  "equal  liberty"  in  that  direction. 

I  am  glad  I  opened  this  question  as  I  did,  for  I  think  I  get  from 
what  you  have  written  a  clue  to  your  bottom  feelings  on  it ;  and  if  I  do, 
we  are  not  so  far  apart  In  aim  as  would  appear,  and  I  recognize  that  you 
may  be  of  value  in  the  reform  world.  I  certainly  hope  that  you  may 
assist  in  loosening  the  grip  of  Government  prerogatives  relating  to  mat- 
ters purely  personal.     Here  we  can  work  together.  S.   Blodgett. 

I  am  not  conscious  that  I  have  shown  any  special  courage 
or  honesty  in  my  discussion  vi'ith  Mr.  Blodgett  ;  perhaps  this 
is  because  I  am  unconscious  of  having  been  confronted  with 
any  dilemma.     If  I  have  been  as  badly  worsted  as  he  seems 


to  suppose,  it  is  fortunate  for  my  pride  and  mental  peace  that 
I  do  not  know  it.  The  "  difference  in  the  kind  of  social  con- 
ventions which  they  wish  to  enforce  "  is  the  only  difference  I 
claim  between  Anarchists  and  Governmentalists ;  -,t  is  quite 
difference  enough, — in  fact,  exactly  equal  to  the  difference  be- 
tween liberty  and  authority.  To  use  the  word  government  as 
meaning  the  enforcement  of  such  social  conventions  as  are 
unnecessary  to  the  preservation  of  equal  liberty  seems  to  me, 
not  beating  around  the  bush,  but  a  clear  definition  of  terms. 
Others  may  use  the  word  differently,  and  I  have  no  quarrel 
with  them  for  doing  so  as  long  as  they  refrain  from  interpret- 
ing my  statements  by  their  definitions.  "  Opportunity  for  all 
to  take  freely  from  the  same  cabbage  patch  is  not  equal  lib- 
erty," because  it  is  incompatible  with  another  liberty,^the 
liberty  to  keep.  Equal  liberty,  in  the  property  sphere,  is  such 
a  balance  between  the  liberty  to  take  and  the  liberty  to  keep 
that  the  two  liberties  may  coexist  without  conflict  or  invasion. 
In  a  certain  verbal  sense  it  may  be  claimed  that  equal  slavery 
is  equal  liberty;  but  nearly  every  one  except  Mr.  Blodgett 
realizes  that  he  who  favors  equal  slavery  favors  the  greatest 
amount  of  slavery  compatible  with  equality,  while  he  who 
favors  equal  liberty  favors  the  greatest  amount  of  liberty  com- 
patible with  equality.  This  is  a  case  in  which  emphasis  is 
everything.  By  "  invasion  "  I  mean  the  invasion  of  the  indi- 
vidual sphere,  which  is  bounded  by  the  line  inside  of  which 
liberty  of  action  does  not  conflict  with  others'  liberty  of 
action.  The  upshot  of  this  discussion  seems  to  be,  by  his 
own  confession,  that  heretofore  Mr.  Blodgett  has  miscon- 
ceived the  position  of  the  Anarchists,  whereas  now  he  under- 
stands it.  In  that  view  of  the  matter  I  concede  his  victory  ; 
for  in  all  intellectual  controversy  he  is  the  real  victor  who 
gains  the  most  light. 


[Liberty,  February^ii,  1888.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

I  must  take  exception  to  the  teaching  that  the  infliction  of  injury  upon 
aggressors  is  compatible  with  the  principle  of  equal  liberty  to  all. 

First,  with  an  argument  which  is  no  argument,  yet  which  has  its  force 
to  those  who  have  observed  the  growth  of  new  ideas  in  their  own  minds  ; 
how  there  comes  first  a  revulsion  against  what  is,  then  strong  setitiment 
in  favor  of  the  opposite,  and  l&st  only,  and  often  not  then  until  long- 

68  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

after,  perhaps  never,  comes  the  possibility  of  rational  justification  of  the 

Now,  it  is  a  matter  of  observation  that  liberty  interpreted  to  include 
non-resistance  meets  with  quick.welcome  in  many  minds  that  are  looking 
for  better  things,  while  liberty  interpreted  to  mean  our  own  liberty  to 
compel  others  is  to  the  same  minds  an  unintelligible  formula. 

And  the  reason  of  it  would  seem  to  be  this, — that  while  the  right  to 
defence,  and,  if  you  will,  to  offence  too,  is  equal  to  the  power  and  the 
desire  to  defend  or  to  offend,  it  has  no  more  to  do  with  the  actions  proper 
to  man  in  a  social  state  than  the  right  of  cannibalism,  which  undoubtedly 
also  exists,  when,  having  no  other  food,  a  man  must  feed  on  his  com- 
panion or  die  himself.  Saving  that  in  this  case,  with  the  exercise  of  this 
right  to  eat  him,  a  social  condition  with  him  no  longer  exists  ;  it  is  a  re- 
vulsion to  a  state  of  warfare. 

Who  is  to  judge  of  where  the  right  to  equal  liberty  is  infringed?  If 
each  one  is  judge,  why  may  not  the  pickpocket  say,  "  You  have  right  to 
imprison  me  for  picking  your  pocket,  1  claim  that  as  my  natural  liberty 
and  I  willingly  grant  you  the  liberty  of  picking  mine  In  return — if  you 
can.  The  right  to  pick  pockets  is  co-extensive  with  the  power  to  pick 
pockets,  and  you  are  committing  an  aggression  in  imprisoning  me,  rather 
than  I  in  picking  your  packet." 

There  is  a  difference  between  resistance  and  retaliation,  and  between 
resistance  and  anticipatory  violence.  Resistance  may  consist  in  barring 
a  door,  or  raising  a  wall  against  an  armed  attack,  or  on  behalf  of  others 
we  may  resist  by  interposing  our  own  person  to  receive  the  attack. 

But  when  the  attack  is  done  and  past,  when  the  violence  is  over,  when 
the  murder  perhaps  is  committed,  by  what  right  of  resistance  do  we  as- 
sume to  retaliate  in  cold  blood? 

Do  we  assume  that  a  man  who  has  killed  once  will  kill  again  ?  Such 
an  assumption  is  wholly  unjustifiable. 

Or,  if  it  be  admitted  that  such  an  one  is  more  likely  to  kill  a  second 
time,  do  we  kill  him  on  a  possibility  that  lies  wholly  in  the  future? 

Shall  we  say  that  he  places  himself  outside  of  society,  declares  war 
upon  it,  and  society  in  return  makes  warfare  upon  him  and  exterminates 
him  ?  Who  then  is  to  judge  of  all  the  rest  of  us  whether  we  are  suffi- 
ciently socialized  to  be  permitted  to  exist  ?  If  each  is  to  retaliate  where 
he  conceives  himself  attacked,  we  remain  in  our  present  state  of  warfare. 

Furthermore,  if  I  see  one  coming  in  a  threatening  attitude,  with  drawn 
revolver,  shall  I  shoot  first  and  kill  him  if  I  can  ? 

Doubtless  I  may,  and  take  the  chances  of  his  killing  me  ;  but,  in  doing 
so,  I  cease  to  admit  that  he  is  an  associate  ;  I  join  battle  with  him  ;  I  ac- 
cept the  fortune  of  war. 

Briefly,  the  argument  may  be  expressed  thus:  In  a  social  state  no  in- 
dividual can  be  regarded  as  outside  the  pale  of  society  for  any  cause. 
Society  must  embrace  all. 

He  that  takes  pleasure  in  aggression  is  either  undeveloped  or  a  rever- 
sion to  a  former  type,  or  his  apparent  aggression  is  really  an  attempt  to 
resist  what  he  conceives  to  be  an  injury  to  himself. 

In  any  of  these  cases  counter-violence  is  wrong, — namely,  it  does  not 
accomplish  its  purpose. 

If  the  aggressor  thinks  he  is  injured,  the  reasonable  course  is  to  ex- 
plain and  apologize,  even  though  no  injury  was  meant. 

If  the  aggression  be  prompted  by  the  mere  pleasure  of  aggression, 
the  delight  in  violence  oi  a  past  type,  the  reasonable  course  is  to  regard 
the  aggressor  asa  diseased  man,  on  a  par  with  a  lunatic,  or  dehriutn  iK- 


mens  patient.  Confine  him,  but  as  medical  treatment.  Bind  him,  witlj 
no  personal  hatred  of  him  in  the  ascendant.  And,  in  confinement,  so 
far  from  torturing  him,  treat  him  asare  treated,  or  as  ought  to  be  treated, 
all  sick  and  infirm,  with  the  best  food,  with  the  best  lodging,  with  kind- 
ness, with  care,  with  love. 

This,  I  say,  is  rational  treatment. 

It  seems  to  me  that  the  theory  you  advocate  can  produce  nothing  but 
what  we  see  now. 

The  people  at  large,  for  that  purpose,  if  for  no  other,  a  voluntary  as- 
sociation, hanged  the  Chicago  men.  The  people  believed  with  undoubted 
sincerity  that  they  were  in  danger  from  violence  on  the  part  of  the  vic- 
tims. They  investigated  the  justice  of  their  belief  by  means  which  they 
thought  adequate.     They  resisted  by  retaliatory  violence. 

How  can  you  by  your  principles  blame  them  ? 

It  seems  to  me,  too,  that  the  simple  proposition  is  that  to  compel  by 
violence  is  to  govern,  and  that  Anarchists,  who  protest  against  govern- 
ment, should  begin  by  saying  :  We  will  govern  nobody.  We  will  do  no 

If  you  care  to  print  this,  I  ask  one  thing  :  Ma*ke  no  verbal  criticisms. 
I  am  not  a  Christian,  nor  a  teleologist,  nor  a  moralist,  and  any  slips  of 
language  must  not  be  construed  to  mean  that  I  am.  Another  thing  I 
ask,  subject  to  your  approval.  Do  not  refute  me  in  the  same  issue.  Per- 
haps I  am  wrong.  If  so,  I  wish  to  change  my  opinion.  You,  I  assume, 
are  as  ready  to  change  yours. 

But  it  will  take  a  little  time  for  either  of  us. 

John  Beverley  Robinson. 

If  I  could  see  that  my  silence  for  a  fortnight  could  help 
either  Mr.  Robinson  or  myself  to  a  change  of  opinion,  I  would 
certainly  grant  his  last  request.  But  it  seems  to  me  that,  if 
either  of  us  is  open  to  conviction,  such  would  be  the  very 
course  to  delay  the  change.  I  change  my  opinion  when  an  ar- 
gument is  opposed  to  it  which  I  perceive  to  be  valid  and  con- 
trolling. If  it  does  not  seem  to  me  valid  at  first,  it  rarely 
seems  otherwise  after  mere  waiting.  But  if  I  try  to  answer  it, 
I  either  destroy  it  because  of  its  weakness,  or  cause,  its  strength 
to  be  made  more  palpable  by  provoking  its  restatement  in  an- 
other and  clearer  form.  I  should  think  the  same  must  hold  in 
Mr.  Robinson's  case,  if  he  is  writing  his  mature  thought;  if  he 
is  not,  I  should  advise  him  to  let  it  mature  first  and  print  it 
afterwards.  There  is,  no  doubt,  something  to  be  said  in  favor 
of  allowing  intervals  between  statements  of  opposing  views, 
but  solely  from  the  reader's  standpoint,  not  from  that  of  the 
disputants.  Such  a  plan  encourages  thought  and  compels  the 
reader  to  frame  some  sort  of  answer  for  himself  pending  the 
rejoinder  of  the  other  side.  But  in  the  conduct  of  a  journal 
this  consideration,  important  as  it  is,  is  not  the  only  one  to  be 
thought  of.  There  are  others,  and  they  all  tell  in  favor  of  the 
Bnetho(J  of  immediate  reply.     First,  there  is  the  consideration 

70  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

of  space,  one  third  of  which  can  generally  be  saved  by  avoid- 
ing the  necessity  of  restating  the  opponent's  positron.  Second, 
there  is  the  consideration  of  interest,  which  wanes  when  a  dis- 
cussion is  prolonged  by  frequent  delays.  Third,  there  is  the 
consideration  arising  out  of  the  fact  that  every  issue  of  a  paper 
is  seen  by  hundreds  of  people  who  never  see  another.  It  is 
better  that  such  should  read  both  sides  than  but  one. 

Mr.  Robinson's  other  request — that  I  make  no  verbal 
criticism — is  also  hard  to  comply  with.  How  am  I  to  avoid 
a  verbal  criticism  when  he  makes  against  Anarchists  a  charge 
of  inconsistency  which  can  only  be  sustained  by  a  definition 
of  government  which  Anarchists  reject  ?  He  says  that  the 
essence  of  government  is  compulsion  by  violence.  If  it  is, 
then  of  course  Anarchists,  always  opposing  government,  must 
always  oppose  violence.  But  Anarchists  do  not  so  define 
government.  To  them  the  essence  of  government  is  invasion. 
From  the  standpoint  of  this  definition,  why  should  Anar- 
chists, protesting  against  invasion  and  determined  not  to  be 
invaded,  not  use  violence  against  it,  provided  at  any  time 
violence  shall  seem  the  most  effective  method  of  putting  a 
stop  to  it  ? 

But  it  is  not  the  most  effective  method,  insists  Mr.  Robin- 
son in  another  part  of  his  article  ;  "  it  does  not  accomplish  its 
purpose."  Ah  !  here  we  are  on  quite  another  ground.  The 
claim  no  longer  is  that  it  is  necessarily  un-Anarchistic  to  use 
violence,  but  that  other  influences  than  violence  are  more 
potent  to  overcome  invasion.  Exactly  ;  that  is  the  gospel 
which  Liberty  has  always  preached.  I  have  never  said  any- 
thing to  the  contrary,  and  Mr.  Robinson's  criticism,  so  far  as 
it  lies  in  this  direction,  seems  to  me  mal  a  propos.  His  article 
is  prompted  by  my  answers  to  Mr.  Blodgett  in  No.  115.  Mr. 
Blodgett's  questions  were  not  as  to  what  Anarchists  would 
find  it  best  to  do,  but  as  to  what  their  Anarchistic  doctrine 
logically  binds  them  to  do  and  avoid  doing.  I  confined  my 
attention  strictly  to  the  matter  in  hand,  omitting  extraneous 
matters.  Mr.  Robinson  is  not  justified  in  drawing  infer- 
ences from  my  omissions,  especially  inferences  that  are  antago- 
nistic to  my  definite  assertions  at  other  times. 

Perhaps  he  will  answer  me,  however,  that  there  are  certain 
circumstances  under  which  I  think  violence  advisable. 
Granted  ;  but,  according  to  his  article,  so  does  he.  These 
circumstances,  however,  he  distinguishes  from  the  social  state 
as  a  state  of  warfare.  But  so  do  I.  The  question  comes 
upon  what  you  are  to  do  when  a  man  makes  war  upon  you. 
Ward  him  off,  says  Mr,  Robinson,  but  do  not  attack  him  in 


turn  to  prevent  a  repetition  of  his  attack.  As  a  general  policy, 
I  agree  ;  as  a  rule  without  exceptions,  I  dissent.  Suppose  a 
man  tries  to  knock  me  down.  I  will  parry  his  blows  for  a  while, 
meanwhile  trying  to  dissuade  him  from  his  purpose.  But 
suppose  he  does  not  desist,  and  I  have  to  take  a  train  to 
reach  the  bedside  of  my  dying  child.  I  straightway  knock 
him  down  and  take  the  train.  And  if  afterwards  he  repeats 
his  attack  again  and  again,  and  thereby  continually  takes  my 
time  away  from  the  business  of  my  life,  I  put  him  out  of  my 
way,  in  the  most  decent  manner  possible,  but  summarily  and 
forever.  In  other  words,  it  is  folly  for  people  who  desire  to 
live  in  society  to  put  up  with  the  invasions  of  the  incorrigible. 
Which  does  not  alter  the  fact  that  with  the  corrigible  it  is  not 
only  good  policy,  but  in  accordance  with  the  sentiments  of 
highly-developed  human  beings,  to  be  as  gentle  and  kind  as 

To  describe  such  dealing  with  the  incorrigible  as  the  exer- 
cise of  "  our  liberty  to  compel  others  "  denotes  an  utter  mis- 
conception. It  is  simply  the  exercise  of  our  liberty  to  keep 
others  from  compelling  us. 

But  who  is  to  judge  where  invasion  begins  ?  asks  Mr.  Rob- 
inson. Each  for  himself,  and  those  to  combine  who  agree,  I 
answer.  It  will  be  perpetual  war,  then  ?  Not  at  all  ;  a  war 
of  short  duration,  at  the  worst.  I  am  well  aware  that  there  is 
a  border-land  between  legitimate  and  invasive  conduct  over 
which  there  must  be  for  a  time  more  or  less  trouble.  But  it 
is  an  ever-decreasing  margin.  It  has  been  narrowing  ever 
since  the  idea  of  equal  liberty  first  dawned  upon  the  mind  of 
man,  and  in  proportion  as  this  idea  becomes  clearer  and  the 
new  social  conditions  which  it  involves  become  real  will  it 
contract  towards  the  geometrical  conception  of  a  line.  And 
then  the  world  will  be  at  peace.  Meanwhile,  if  the  pick-pocket 
continues  his  objectionable  business,  it  will  not  be  because 
of  any  such  reasoning  as  Mr.  Robinson  puts  into  his  mouth. 
He  may  so  reason,  but  as  a  matter  of  fact  he  never  does.  Or, 
if  he  does,  he  is  an  exceptional  pick-pocket.  The  normal 
pick-pocket  has  no  idea  of  equal  liberty.  Whenever  the  idea 
dawns  upon  him,  he  will  begin  to  feel  a  desire  for  its  reali- 
zation and  to  acquire  a  knowledge  of  what  equal  liberty  is. 
'Then  he  will  see  that  it  is  exclusive  of  pocket-picking.  And 
,S0  with  the  people  who  hanged  the  Chicago  martyrs.  I  have 
never  blamed  them  in  the  usual  sense  of  the  word  blame.  I 
charge  them  with  committing  gross  outrage  upon  the  principle 
of  equal  liberty,  but  not  with  knowing  what  they  did.  When 
they  become  Anarchists,  they  will  realize  what  they  did,  and 

tj2  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

will  do  SO  no  more.  To  this  end  my  comrades  and  I  are  try- 
ing to  enlighten  them  concerning  the  principle  of  equal  liberty. 
But  we  shall  fail  if  we  obscure  the  principle  by  denying  or 
concealing  the  lengths  to  which,  in  caseof  need,  it  allows  us 
to  go  lest  people  of  tender  sensibilities  m"ay  infer  that  we  are 
in  favor  of  always  going  to  such  lengths,  regardless  of  circum- 


[Liberty,  February  2,  1889.] 

My  dear  Mr.  Tucker: 

Liberty  has  done  me  a  great  service  in  carrying  me  from  the  metaphysical 
speculations  in  which  I  was  formerly  interested  into  a  vein  of  practical 
thought  which  is  more  than  a  mere  overflow  of  humanitarianism  ;  whichjs 
as  closely  logical  and  strictly  scientific  as  any  other  practical  investigation. 
In  spite  of  certain  small  criticisms  which  it  would  be  petty  to  dwell  upon, 
it  is  the  most  advanced  and  most  intellectual  paper  that  I  have  seen.  I 
esteem  it  most  highly. 

The  particular  matter  upon  which  we  have  exchanged  letters — the  ques- 
tion of  non-resistance — is  still  in  my  mind,  but  it  is  hard  for  me  to  find 
time  to  write  anything  for  publication.      Perhaps  it  is  even  premature. 

Of  course  1  see  very  clearly  that  economically  Anarchism  is  complete 
without  including  any  question  as  to  force  or  no-force  at  all:  but  the  im- 
portance of  preaching  one  or  the  other  as  a  means  of  obtaining  or  perpet- 
uating Anarchy  has  not  diminished  in  my  mind. 

People  invariably  feel,  if  they  do  not  ask;  "  How  are  you  going  to  ac- 
complish it?"     And  I  think  the  question  is  valid. 

In  every  definition  of  liberty,  or  of  aggression,  there  is  a  reference  to  a 
certain  limit  beyond  which  liberty  becomes  aggression.  How  this  limit  is  cer- 
tainly determinable  I  have  never  seen  any  one  attempt  to  show.  As  a  matter 
of  fact,  the  history  of  liberty  has  been  a  record  of  the  continual  widening  of 
this  limit.  Once  there  was  a  time  when  religious  heterodoxy  was  regard- 
ed as  an  aggression,  not  vainly  I  think  you  will  admit  when  you  remem- 
ber how  much  our  actions  are  influenced  by  our  predisposing  theories. 
When  it  was  commonly  thought,  even  by  transgressors  themselves,  that 
nothing  but  the  acceptance  of  certain  dogmas  prevented  all  men  from  be- 
coming transgressors,  it  was  not  unreasonable  to  "  resist  the  beginnings." 

So  now  when  multitudes  of  good  people  regard  the  maintenance  of  the 
State  as  essential  to  the  preservation  of  security,  it  is  no  wonder  that  they 
should  easily  be  inflamed  against  those  who  openly  antagonize  the  State. 
Formerly  to  think  heterodoxy  was  regarded  as  an  aggression.  Afterwards 
thought  was  freed,  but  speech  was  limited.  To  speak  of  the  forbidden 
thing  was  then  an  aggression,  and  still  is  to  some  extent. 

What  is  the  line?     Where  is  the  limit?     Thought  and  speech  can  both 
be  absolutely  free.     Thinking  or  talking  cannot  really  hurt  anybody. 
But  when  we  come  to  actions,  where  are  we  to  stop? 

That  this  line  which  separates  liberty  from  aggression  should  be  drawn 
seems  to  me  essential  to  the  working  of  the  Anarchistic  principle  in  actual 


practice.  As  an  illustration,  you  and  Egoist  in  the  last  issue  of  Liberty 
consider  each  the  other  an  aggressor  in  a  certain  case. 

Is  not  government  really  a  bungling  attempt,  but  perhaps  the  best  we 
could  do  up  to  this  time,  to  settle  the  question,  roughly  and  arbitrarily, 
between  parties  who  each  regarded  themselves  as  within  their  right  and 
the  other  as  the  aggressor  ? 

So  it  would  appear  to  me.  Even  the  land  laws  and  other  laws  which 
seem  primary  are,  I  think,  only  secondary.  I  am  not  profoundly  versed 
in  the  history  of  law,  but  I  am  inclined  to  think  that  statutes  and  the 
generalizations  of  common  law  have  sprung  from  the  collocation  of  many 
individual  decisions,  each  decision  being  the  best  that  could  be  arrived  at 
under  the  circumstances  of  the  time. 

If  this  is  at  all  a  fair  description  of  what  is, — that  is,  if  law  is  a  rough  at- 
tempt to  draw  the  line  between  liberty  and  aggression,  and  not  a  conscious 
deliberate  fraud  committed  by  the  privileged  upon  the  oppressed  (and  I 
think  the  notion  of  the  State  being  "  a  conspiracy  "  is  as  empty  as  the  par- 
allel notion  of  some  of  our  secularist  friends  that  the  Church  is  a  con- 
spiracy of  priests), — if  the  State  is  the  result  of  attempts  to  determine  the 
limit  of  liberty,  no  theory  that  dispenses  with  the  State  is  complete  unless 
it  otherwise  defines  that  limit. 

The  essence  of  aggression,  the  reason  that  it  is  forbidden,  is  that 
it  causes  pain.  Pain,  even  when  caused  by,  or  a  concomitant  of,  properly 
limited  liberty,  is  in  itself  a  wrong, — an  antagonist  of  personal  or  social 
progress.  If  aggression  were  uniformly  pleasant,  it  would  be  regarded  as 

So  that  if  in  the  exercise  of  my  liberty  I  give  pain  to  anybody,  in  so  far 
as  I  give  pain  I  am  committing  an  aggression.  If  I  bathe  naked  before 
one  who  is  shocked  by  such  exhibition,  doubtless  his  prudery  is  unjustifi- 
able ;  that,  however,  does  not  alter  the  fact  that  I  have  deliberately  injured 
him, — I  have  committed  an  aggression. 

In  trying  to  logically  define  this  limit,  I  have  cast  about  in  various  di- 
rections. At  one  time  it  seemed  that  individual  liberty  included  a  right  to 
all  non-action.  That  is,  that  people  have  a  right  to  say  to  any  one  :  "  You 
are  injuring  us  by  your  proceedings  ;  you  must  stop  ";  but  that  they  have 
no  right  to  say  :  "  It  is  essential  to  our  happiness  that  you  should  do  this 
or  that." 

I  am  not  sure  that  this  is  not  a  correct  idea,  but  the  statement  lacks 
precision,  and  I  have  not  so  far  been  able  to  attenuate  it. 

The  best  thought  that  I  have  yet  had  is  that  what  is  called  "  non-resist- 
ance "  is  the  true  guide.  A  better  word  would  be  "non-retaliation,"  yet 
even  that  is  not  quite  right. 

At  the  bottom  there  is  a  feeling  that  no  one  attacks  another  nowadays 
for  fun.  If  a  man  attacks  me,  I  immediately  conclude  that  I  have  injured 
him,  or  that  he  thinks  that  I  have  injured  him.  If  I  could  "  paralyze  him 
by  a  glance  "  or  otherwise  "  resist  "  him  without  injuring  him,  I  should 
hardly  call  it  resistance.  Usually,  however,  there  are  but  two  courses  open. 
One  a  timely  apology;  the  other  a  counter  attack.  If  I  adopt  the  latter 
and  disable  him  or  kill  him,  the  question  of  who  first  aggressed  is  undeter- 
mined. I  have  assumed  an  aristocratic  attitude  of  impeccability  ;  sociality 
does  not  exist. 

As  for  those  who  take  pleasure  in  aggression,  it  is  an  evanescent  type. 
They  are  hospital  subjects,  reversions  to  an  ancestral  type,  certainly  not 
responsible  individuals. 

Briefly,  the  question  of  what  constitutes  aggression  can  be  settled  only 
by  compact  between  individuals.     In  order  to  arrive  at  an  understanding 

74  INSTEAD   OF    A    BOOK. 

and  form  the  compact,  the  opinion  of  the  one  that  thinks  he  is  encroached 
upon  must  be  final  if  it  cannot  be  removed  by  argument, — that  is,  by 
changing  his  convictions. 

If  any  action  is  persisted  in  which  any  one  conceives  to  be  an  aggression 
upon  him,  it  virtually  is  an  aggression  ;  and  the  friend  of  liberty  is  com- 
pelled to  recognize  it  as  such  and  to  recede,  rather  than  to  inflict  injury  in 
continuing  his  course. 

I  trust  that  you  will  seize  my  idea.  I  do  not  regard  this  as  final,  but  I 
think  some  clearly  logical  demarcation  essential. 

Sincerely  yours,  John  Beverley  Robinson. 

67  Liberty  Street,  New  York,  January  25,  1889. 

While  I  should  like  to  see  the  line  between  liberty  and 
aggression  drawn  with  scientific  exactness,  I  cannot  admit 
that  such  rigor  of  definition  is  essential  to  the  realization  of 
Anarchism.  If,  in  spite  of  the  lack  of  such  a  definition,  the 
history  of  liberty  has  been,  as  Mr.  Robinson  truly  says,  "  a 
record  of  the  continual  widening  of  this  limit,"  there  is  no 
reason  why  this  widening  process  should  not  go  on  until  An- 
archy becomes  a  fact.  It  is  perfectly  thinkable  that,  after  the 
last  inch  of  debatable  ground  shall  have  been  adjudged  to  one 
side  or  the  other,  it  may  still  be  found  impossible  to  scientifically 
formulate  the  rule  by  which  this  decision  and  its  predecessors 
were  arrived  at. 

The  chief  influence  in  narrowing  the  strip  of  debatable  land 
is  not  so  much  the  increasing  exactness  of  the  knowledge  of 
what  constitutes  aggression  as  the  growing  conception  that  ag- 
gression is  an  evil  to  be  avoided  and  that  liberty  is  the  condi- 
tion of  progress.  The  moment  one  abandons  the  idea  that  he 
was  born  to  discover  what  is  right  and  enforce  it  upon  the  rest 
of  the  world,  he  begins  to  feel  an  increasing  disposition  to  let 
others  alone  and  to  refrain  even  from  retaliation  or  resistance  ex- 
cept in  those  emergencies  which  immediately  and  imperatively 
require  it.  This  remains  true  even  if  aggression  be  defined 
in  the  extremely  broad  sense  of  the  infliction  of  pain  ;  for  the 
individual  who  traces  the  connection  between  liberty  and  the 
general  welfare  will  be  pained  by  few  things  so  much  as  by  the 
consciousness  that  his  neighbors  are  curtailing  their  liberties  out 
of  consideration  for  his  feelings,  and  such  a  man  will  never  say 
to  his  neighbors,  "  Thus  far  and  no  farther,"  until  they  com- 
mit acts  of  direct  and  indubitable  interference  and  trespass.  The 
man  who  feels  more  pained  at  seeing  his  neighbor  bathe  naked 
than  he  would  at  the  knowledge  that  he  refrained  from  doing 
so  in  spite  of  his  preference  is  invariably  the  man  who  be- 
lieves in  aggression  and  government  as  the  basis  of  society  and 
has  not  learned  the  lesson  that  "liberty  is  the  mother  of  order." 
This  lesson,  then,  rather  than  an  exact  definition  of  aggres- 

THE   INDIVIDUAL,   SOClEtY,   AND   THE   StAtfi.  i?5 

sion,  is  the  essential  condition  of  the  development  of  Anar- 
chism. Liberty  has  steadily  taught  this  lesson,  but  has  never 
professed  an  ability  to  define  aggression,  except  in  a  very 
general  way.  We  must  trust  to  experience  and  the  conclu- 
sions therefrom  for  the  settlement  of  all  doubtful  cases. 

As  for  States  and  Churches,  I  think  there  is  more  founda- 
tion than  Mr.  Robinson  sees  for  the  claim  that  they  are  con- 
spiracies. Not  that  I  fail  to  realize  as  fully  as  he  that  there 
are  many  good  men  in  both  whose  intent  is  not  at  all  to  oppress 
or  aggress.  Doubtless  there  are  many  good  and  earnest  priests 
whose  sole  aim  is  to  teach  religious  truth  as  they  see  it  and 
elevate  human  life,  but  has  not  Dr.  McGIynn  conclusively 
shown  that  the  real  power  of  control  in  the  Church  is  always 
vested  in  an  unscrupulous  machine  ?  That  the  State  origi- 
nated in  aggression  Herbert  Spencer  has  proved.  If  it  now 
pretends  to  exist  for  purposes  of  defence,  it  is  because  the 
advance  of  sociology  has  made  such  a  pretence  necessary  to 
its  preservation.  Mistaking  this  pretence  for  reality,  many 
good  men  enlist  in  the  work  of  the  State.  But  the  fact  re- 
mains that  the  State  exists  mainly  to  do  the  will  of  capital  and 
secure  it  all  the  privileges  it  demands,  and  I  cannot  see  that 
the  combinations'  of  capitalists  who  employ  lobbyists  to  buy 
legislators  deserve  any  milder  title  than  "  conspirators,"  or  that 
the  term  "  conspiracy  "  inaccurately  expresses  the  nature  of 
their  machine,  the  State. 


\_Liherty^  December  26,  1891.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty: 

Do  you  think  that  it  is  accurate  to  say,  as  Liberty  has  said  recently, 
that  Anarchism  contemplates  the  use  of  police,  jails,  and  other  forms  of 
force?  Is  it  not  rather  that  Anarchism  contemplates  that  those  who 
wish  these  means  of  protection  shall  pay  for  them  themselves  ;  while 
those  who  prefer  other  means  shall  only  pay  for  what  they  want  ?     (i) 

Indeed,  the  whole  teaching  that  it  is  expedient  to  use  force  against  the 
invader,  which,  as  you  know,  I  have  always  had  doubts  about,  seems  to 
me  to  fall  when  Egoism  is  adopted  as  the  basis  of  our  thought.  To  de- 
scribe a  man  as  an  invader  seems  a  reminiscence  of  the  doctrine  of 
natural  depravity.  It  fails  to  recognize  that  all  desires  stand  upon  a  par, 
morally,  and  that  it  is  for  us  to  find  the  most  convenient  way  of  gratify- 
ing as  much  of  everybody's  desires  as  possible.  To  say  that  a  certain 
formula  proposed  by  us  to  this  end  is  "justice,"  and  that  all  who  do  not 
conform  to  it— all  who  are  "  unjust" — will  be  suppressed  by  us  by  vio- 
lence, is  precisely  parallel  to  the  course  of  those  who  say  that  their  for- 



mula  for  the  regulation  of  conduct  is  the  measure  of  righteousness,  and 
that  they  will  suppress  the  "  unrighteous  "  by  violence.     (2) 

As  I  absorb  the  Egoistic  sentiment,  it  begins  to  appear  that  the  funda- 
mental demand  is  not  liberty,  but  the  cessation  of  violence  in  the  obtain- 
ing of  gratification  for  desires. 

By  the  cessation  of  violence  we  shall  obtain  liberty,  but  liberty  is  the 
end  rather  than  the  means.     (3) 

"We  demand  liberty,"  say  the  Anarchists.  "Yes,  but  we  see  no 
reason  why  we  should  forego  our  desire  to  control  you,  by  your  own 
canons,  if  you  are  Egoists,"  replies  the  majority.  "  Truly,"  we  answer, 
"but  we  point  out  to  you  that  it  is  for  your  advantage  to  give  us  liberty." 
"At  present  we  are  satisfied  of  the  contrary;  we  are  satisfied  that  you 
wish  to  upset  institutions  that  we  wish  to  preserve,"  say  they.  "We 
do,  indeed,"  we  reply,  "but  we  will  not  invade  you,  we  will  not  prevent 
you  from  doing  anything  you  wish,  provided  it  does  not  tend  to  deter 
us  from  uninvasive  activities."  "We  think,"  concludes  the  majority, 
"  that  in  attempting  to  destroy  what  we  wish  to  preserve  you  are  invad- 
ing us  "  ;  and  how  are  we  to  establish  the  contrary  except  by  laying 
down  a  practicable  definition  of  invasion — one  by  which  it  can  be  demon- 
strated that  using  unoccupied  but  claimed  land,  for  instance,  is  not  in- 
vasive.    (4) 

No,  it  seems  to  me  that  no  definition  of  invasion  can  be  made;  that  it 
is  a  variable  quantity,  like  liberty  itself. 

When  you  said,  some  time  ago,  that  liberty  was  not  a  natural  right, 
but  a  social  contract,  I  think  you  covered  the  case.  If,  however,  liberty 
is  a  matter  of  contract,  is  not  invasion,  which  is  the  limit  of  liberty,  also 
a  matter  of  contract?     (5) 

What  Anarchism  really  means  is  the  demand  for  the  rule  of  contract, 
rather  than  for  the  rule  of  violence. 

"  As  Egoists,  we  Anarchists  point  out  to  you,  the  majority,  that  the 
pleasure  of  mankind  in  fighting  for  the  sake  of  fighting  is  rapidly  declin- 
ing from  disuse.  We  point  out  further  that  from  any  other  point  of 
view  fighting  is  not  to  the  interest  of  anybody;  that  desires  can  be  grati- 
fied and  the  harmonization  of  clashing  interests  attained  much  more 
pleasurably  without  fighting."  "  That  is  true,"  the  majority  replies,  for, 
though  the  majority  really  enjoys  fighting  for  the  fun  of  it,  it  has  got  to 
a  point  where  it  will  not  admit  that  it  does,  and  to  a  point  where  it 
clearly  perceives  the  costliness  of  the  amusement. 

"  We  propose  then,"  the  Anarchists  continue,  "  not  to  settle  differ- 
ences by  violence  ;  but  to  reach  the  best  agreement  that  we  can  without 
violence.  We  propose  this  with  the  more  confidence  that  you  will  accept 
it,  because  you  yourselves  are  beginning  to  admit  that  the  condition  of 
existence  for  men  is  not  the  former  ascetic  suppression,  but  the  gratifi- 
cation of  desires.  We  therefore  propose  that  you  shall  at  once  cease  to 
repress  by  violence  conduct  which  is  not  against  your  interests  and  which 
you  now  suppress  only  on  account  of  a  surviving  belief  that  you  are 
called  upon  to  suppress  it  for  the  interest  of  the  doers.  Following  that, 
we  shall  make  other  demands  for  the  cessation  of  violence." 

But,  of  course,  in  proposing  contract  instead  of  violence,  it  follows 
that  we  abjure  violence  as  a  principle  ;  we  become  what  I  think  it  is  fair 
to  call  non-resistants.  That  is  to  say  that,  although  we  do  not  guarantee 
our  actions  should  our  fellows  refuse  to  accept  our  proposal  of  the  system 
of  contract,  we  do  not  for  a  moment  suppose  that  such  possible  reversions 
to  violence  are  a  part  of  the  new  system  of  contract.   (6) 

We   must   hold,  as    Egoists,  that  the  gratification  of   the  desires  of 

¥H£    INDIVIDUAL,    SOCIETY,    AND    THE    STATE.  'j^ 

"criminals"  is  no  more  subject  to  "moral"  condemnation  than  our 
own  actions,  though  from  our  point  of  view  it  may  be  regrettable  ;  and 
that  by  just  as  much  ^s  we  permit  ourselves  to  use  violence  to  repress 
it,  by  just  so  much  we  fortify  the  continuation  of  the  present  reign  of 
violence,  and  postpone  the  coming  of  the  reign  of  contract.  Therefore 
it  is  that  I  call  myself  a  non-resistant  and  regard  non-resistance  as  the 
necessary  implication  for  an  Egoist  who  prefers  contract  to  violence. 

When  I  say  non-resistance,  I  must  explain  that,  so  to  speak,  I  do  not 
mean  non-resistance, — that  is  to  say,  I  mean  resistance  by  every  means 
except  counter-violence. 

The  editorials  that  have  recently  appeared  in  Liberty  signed  by  Mr. 
Yarros  have  had  to  me  a  strongly  moralistic  flavor,  as  indeed  it  is 
inevitable  they  should  have,  from  his  avowed  views  ;  I  thinlj  Pentecost's 
views  more  in  conformity  with  Egoism.  By  the  way,  I  should  be  glad 
if  Mr.  Yarros  could  explain  the  moralistic  position  more  clearly  in 
Liberty  ;  or  if  you  and  he  could  have  a  discussion  of  the  merits  of  the 
matter.  John  Beverley  Robinson. 

67  Liberty  Street,  New  York,  December  lo,  1891. 

(i)  I  think  it  accurate  to  say  that  Anarchism  contemplates 
anything  and  everything  that  does  not  contradict  Anarchism. 
The  writer  whom  Liberty  criticised  had  virtually  made  it 
appear  that  police  and  jails  do  contradict  Anarchism.  Liberty 
simply  denies  this,  and  in  that  sense  contemplates  police  and 
jails.  Of  course  it  does  not  contemplate  the  compulsory  sup- 
port of  such  institutions  by  non-invasive  persons. 

(2)  When  I  describe  a  man  as  an  invader,  I  cast  no  re- 
flection upon  him;  I  simply  state  a  fact.  Nor  do  I  assert  for 
a  moment  the  moral  inferiority  of  the  invader's  desire.  I  only 
declare  the  impossibility  of  simultaneously  gratifying  the  in- 
vader's desire  to  invade  and  my  desire  to  be  let  alone.  That 
these  desires  are  morally  equal  I  cheerfully  admit,  but  they 
cannot  be  equally  realized.  Since  one  must  be  subordinated 
to  the  other,  I  naturally  prefer  the  subordination  of  the  in- 
vader's, and  am  ready  to  co-operate  with  non-invasive  persons 
to  achieve  that  result.  I  am  not  wedded  to  the  term  "justice," 
nor  have  I  any  objection  to  it.  If  Mr.  Robinson  doesn't  like 
it,  let  us  say  "  equal  liberty  "  instead.  Does  he  maintain  that 
the  use  of  force  to  secure  equal  liberty  is  precisely  parallel  to 
the  use  of  force  to  destroy  equal  liberty  ?  If  so,  I  can  only 
hope,  for  the  sake  of  those  who  live  in  the  houses  which  he 
builds,  that  his  appreciation  of  an  angle  is  keener  in  architec- 
ture than  it  is  in  sociology. 

(3)  If  the  invader,  instead  of  chaining  me  to  a  post,  bar- 
ricades the  highway,  do  I  any  the  less  lose  my  liberty  of  loco- 
motion? Yet  he  has  ceased  to  be  violent.  We  obtain  liberty, 
not  by  the  cessation  of  violence,  but  by  the  recognition,  either 
voluntary  or  enforced,  of  equality  of  liberty. 

(4)  We  are  to  establish  the  contra,ry  by  persistent  inculcation 


of  the  doctrine  of  equality  of  liberty,  whereby  finally  the 
majority  will  be  made  to  see  in  regard  to  existing  forms  of 
invasion  what  they  have  already  been  made  to  see  in  regard 
to  its  obsolete  forms, — namely,  that  they  are  not  seeking 
equality  of  liberty  at  all,  but  simply  the  subjection  of  all 
others  to  themselves.  Our  sense  of  what  constitutes  invasion 
has  been  acquired  by  experience.  Additional  experience  is 
continually  sharpening  that  sense.  Though  we  still  draw  the 
line  by  rule  of  thumb,  we  are  drawing  it  more  clearly  every 
day.  It  would  be  an  advantage  if  we  could  frame  a  clear-cut 
generalization  whereby  to  accelerate  our  progress.  But  though 
we  have  it  not,  we  still  progress. 

(s)  Suppose  it  is  ;  what  then  ?  Must  I  consent  to  be  trampled 
upon  simply  because  no  contract  has  been  made  ? 

(6)  So  the  position  of  the  non-resistant  is  that,  when  nobody 
attacks  him,  he  won't  resist.  "  We  are  all  Socialists  now,"  said 
some  Englishman  not  long  ago.  Clearly  we  are  all  non-resist- 
ants now,  according  to  Mr.  Robinson.  I  know  of  no  one  who 
proposes  to  resist  when  he  isn't  attacked,  of  no  one  who  pro- 
poses to  enforce  a  contract  which  nobody  desires  to  violate. 
I  tell  Mr.  Robinson,  as  I  have  told  Mr.  Pentecost,  that  the  be- 
lievers in  equal  liberty  ask  nothing  better  than  that  all  men 
should  voluntarily  act  in  accordance  with  the  principle.  But 
it  is  a  melancholy  fact  that  many  men  are  not  willing  so  to 
act.  So  far  as  our  relations  with  such  men  are  concerned,  it 
is  not  a  matter  of  contract,  but  of  force.  Shall  we  consent  to 
be  ruled,  or  shall  we  refuse  to  be  ruled  ?  If  we  consent,  are 
we  Anarchists?  If  we  refuse,  are  we  Archists?  The  whole 
question  lies  there,  and  Mr.  Robinson  fails  to  meet  it. 


[LiSer^ji,  January  16, 1892,] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

When  you  preach  passive  resistance,  is  it  not  precisely  the  same  thing 
as  what  is  commonly  called  non-resistance? 

When  William  Penn  (or  was  it  Fox  ?)  refused  to  take  off  his  hat  for  the 
Icing  it  was  certainly  passive  resistance  ;  but,  as  he  made  no  attempt  to 
punch  the  king's  head,  it  is  accounted  as  quite  compatible  with  the 
Friends'  non-resistance  tenets,  (i) 

I  do  not  think  that  any  practical  difference  exists  between  passive  re- 
sistance and  non-resistance.  Yet  you  urge  that  in  emergency  violence 
must  be  resorted  to.  Why?  In  what  emergency?  If  violence  is  as  a 
matter  of  principle  advisable  in  certain  cases,  why  not   in  other  cases? 


Why  not  embrace  the  advocacy  of  violence  of  the  Communists  through- 
out? (2) 

Intelligible  enough  as  a  political  measure,  Anarchism  halts  as  a  system 
of  philosophy  as  long  as  it  includes  violence  at  all.  To  people  who 
think  government  exists  to  suppress  robbery,  it  is  sufficient  to  point  out 
that  government  exists  by  robbery,  and  to  enlarge  upon  the  advantages 
that  might  be  expected  to  follow  the  establishment  of  freedom  of  mem- 
bership in  political  societies.   (3) 

But  all  this  involves  no  question  as  to  what  constitutes  invasion.  It  is 
simply  stated  that  each  shall  take  such  measures  as  he  prefers  to  protect 
himself,  and  that  each  shall  determine  for  himself  what  protection  is. 

If,  however,  we  go  further,  and  lay  down  a  formula,  however  defensible 
the  formula  may  be  ;  and  say  that  we  will  by  violence  enforce  that  for- 
mula, whether  it  be  the  formula  of  equal  liberty  or  any  other  formula,  I 
must  maintain  that  the  action  is  precisely  parallel  to  the  course  of  every- 
body in  the  past  and  present  who  have  compelled  others  to  regulate  their 
conduct  in  accordance  with  other  formulas,  alleged  to  be  moral,  and  held 
to  be  as  irrefragable  as  you  now  hold  the  formula  of  equal  liberty  to 
be.  (4) 

"Do  not  pick  people's  pockets  to  make  them  pay  for  protection  they 
don't  want,"  is  good  enough  as  far  as  it  goes. 

It  may  perhaps  be  well  to  go  no  further. 

But  if  we  have  to  go  further  and  ask,  What  is  protection  ?  or.  What  is 
invasion  ?  the  complement  of  protection,  the  only  reply  you  can  give  is 
that  invasion  is  infringing  upon  equal  liberty. 

Until  some  method  is  devised  by  which  we  can  tell  whether  a  given  act 
does  infringe  upon  equal  liberty  the  definition  is  vain.  (5) 

For  instance,  in  a  state  of  liberty  Mr.  Yarros  prints  a  book.  You 
copy  it.  He  organizes  a  society  for  the  suppression  of  pirates  and  im- 
prisons you.     Your  friends  organize  and  a  battle  ensues. 

You  will  doubtless  say  that  you  would  not  advocate  violence  under  such 
circumstances  to  either  side.     I  again  ask.  Why  not  ?  (6) 

Investigate  your  own  principles  and  you  will  find  that  the  recognition 
of  equal  hberty  rests  upon  the  recognition  of  contract  as  supplanting  vio- 
lence. Although  we  may  think  it  wise  among  cannibals  to  become  canni- 
bals ourselves  ;  although  when  forced  to  it  we  may  degrade  ourselves  to 
use  violence  ;  let  us  at  least  recognize  that  the  state  of  affairs  when  every 
one  shall  do  as  he  pleases  can  only  occur  when  all  lay  aside  violence  and 
appeal  only  to  reason.  Let  us  at  least  recognize  that  it  is  for  us  to  totally 
abjure  violence  as  a  principle  of  action;  and  if  we  at  any  tirne  deem  our- 
selves compelled  to  do  violence  let  us  admit  that  we  do  it  under  protest  and 
not  from  principle.    (7)    • 

John  Beverley  Robinson. 

(i)  The  chief  difference  between  passive  resistance  and 
non-resistance  is  this  :  passive  resistance  is  regarded  by  its 
champions  as  a  mere  policy,  while  non-resistance  is  viewed  by 
those  who  favor  it  as  a  principle  or  universal  rule.  Believers 
in  passive  resistance  consider  it  as  generally  more  effective 
than  active  resistance,  but  think  that  there  are  certain  cases 
in  which  the  opposite  is  true  ;  believers  in  non-resistance  con- 
sider either  that  it  is  immoral  to  actively  resist  or  else  that  it 
is  always  unwise  to  do  so. 

^O  INSTEAD    OF    A    idO^. 

(2)  Because  violence,  like  every  other  policy,  is  advisable 
when  it  will  accomplish  the  desired  end  and  inadvisable  when 
it  will  not. 

(3)  Anarchism  is  philosophical,  but  it  is  not  a  system  of 
philosophy.  It  is  simply  the  fundamental  principle  in  the 
science  of  political  and  social  life.  The  believers  in  govern- 
ment are  not  as  easily  to  be  satisfied  as  Mr.  Robinson  thinks; 
and  it  is  well  that  they  are  not.  The  considerations  upon 
which  he  relies  may  convince  them  that  government  does  not 
exist  to  suppress  robbery,  but  will  not  convince  them  that 
abolition  of  the  State  will  obviate  the  necessity  of  dealing 
violently  with  the  other  and  more  ordinary  kinds  of  govern- 
ment of  which  common  robbery  is  one.  For,  even  though 
they  be  led  to  admit  that  the  disappearance  of  the  robber 
State  must  eventually  induce  the  disappearance  of  all  other 
robbers,  they  will  remember  that  effects,  however  certain,  are 
not  always  immediate,  and  that,  pending  the  consummation, 
there  are  often  serious  difficulties  that  must  be  confronted. 

(4)  If  Mr.  Robinson  still  maintains  that  doing  violence  to 
those  who  let  us  alone  is  precisely  parallel  to  doing  violence 
to  those  who  assault  us,  I  can  only  modestly  hint  once  more 
that  I  have  a  better  eye  for  an  angle  than  he  has. 

(5)  Not  so,  by  any  means.  As  long  as  nearly  all  people  are 
agreed  in  their  identification  of  the  great  majority  of  actions 
as  harmonious  with  or  counter  to  equal  liberty,  and  as  long  as 
an  increasing  number  of  people  are  extending  this  agreement 
in  identification  over  a  still  larger  field  of  conduct,  the  defi- 
nition of  invasion  as  the  infringement  of  equal  liberty,  far 
from  being  vain,  will  remain  an  important  factor  in  political 

(6)  Because  we  see  no  imperative  and  overwhelming  neces- 
sity for  an  immediate  settlement  of  the  question  of  copy- 
right, and  because  we  think  that  the  verdict  of  reason  is 
preferable  to  the  verdict  of  violence  in  all  doubtful  cases 
where  we  can  afford  to  wait. 

(7)  It  seems  that  there  are  cases  in  which,  according  to  Mr. 
Robinson,  we  may  resort  to  violence.  It  is  now  my  turn  to 
ask,  Why  ?  If  he  favors  violence  in  one  case,  why  not  in  all  ? 
I  can  see  why,  but  not  from  his  standpoint.  For  my  part,  I 
don't  care  a  straw  whether,  when  Mr.  Robinson  sees  fit  to  use 
violence,  he  acts  under  protest  or  from  principle.  The  main 
question  is :  Does  he  think  it  wise  under  some  circumstances 
to  use  violence,  or  is  he  so  much  of  a  practical  Archist  that 
he  would  not  save  his  child  from  otherwise  inevitable  murder 
by  splitting  open  the  murderer's  head  ? 

I'HE  iNDiviDtJAL,  Society,  and  the  state. 


[Lzl)erty,  November  14,  1891.] 

Because  I  claim  and  teach  that  Anarchism  justifies  the  ap- 
plication of  force  to  invasive  men  and  condemns  force  only 
when  applied  to  non-invasive  men,  Mr.  Pentecost  declares  that 
the  only  difference  between  Anarchism  on  the  one  hand  and 
Monarchism  or  Republicanism  on  the  other  is  the  difference 
between  the  popular  conception  of  invasion  and  my  own.  If 
I  were  to  assert  that  biology  is  the  science  which  deals  with 
the  phenomena  of  living  matter  and  excludes  all  phenomena 
of  matter  that  is  not  living,  and  if  Mr.  Pentecost  were  to  say 
that,  assuming  this,  the  only  difference  between  the  biological 
sciences  and  the  abiological  is  the  difference  between  the  pop- 
'  ular  conception  of  life  and  my  own,  he  would  take  a  position 
precisely  analogous  to  that  which  he  takes  on  the  subject  of 
Anarchism,  and  the  one  position  would  be  every  whit  as 
sensible  and  every  whit  as  foolish  as  the  other.  The  limit  be- 
tween invasion  and  non-invasion,  like  the  limit  between  life 
and  non-life,  is  not,  at  least  in  our  present  comprehension  of 
it,  a  hard  and  fast  line.  But  does  it  follow  from  this  that  in- 
vasion and  non-invasion,  life  and  non-life,  are  identical  ?  Not 
at  all.  The  indefinite  character  of  the  boundary  does  no 
more  than  show  that  a  small  proportion  of  the  phenomena  of 
society,  like  a  small  proportion  of  the  phenomena  of  matter, 
still  resist  the  respective  distinguishing  tests  to  which  by  far 
the  greater  portion  of  such  phenomena  have  yielded  and  by 
which  they  have  been  classified.  And  however  embarrassing 
in  practice  may  be  the  reluctance  of  frontier  phenomena  to 
promptly  arrange  themselves  on  either  side  of  the  border  in 
obedience  to  the  tests,  it  is  still  more  embarrassing  in  theory 
to  attempt  to  frame  any  rational  view  of  society  or  life  with- 
out recognition  of  these  tests,  by  which,  broadly  speaking, 
distinctions  have  been  established.  Some  of  the  most  mani- 
fest distinctions  have  never  been  sharply  drawn. 

If  Mr.  Pentecost  will  view  the  subject  in  this  light  and  fol- 
low out  the  reasoning  thus  entered  upon,  he  will  soon  discover 
that  my  conception  or  misconception  of  what  constitutes  in- 
vasion does  not  at  all  affect  the  scientific  differentiation  of 
Anarchism  from  Archism.  I  may  err  grievously  in  attributing 
an  invasive  or  a  non-invasive  character  to  a  given  social  phe- 
nomenon, and,  if  I  act  upon  my  error,  I  shall  act  Archisti- 
cally;  but  the  very  fact  that  I  am  acting,  not  blindly  and  at 

82  mSTlEAb    OF    A    6C0K. 

hap-hazard,  but  in  furtherance  of  an  endeavor  to  conform  td 
a  generalization  which  is  the  product  of  Jong  experience  and 
accumulating  evidence,  adds  infinitely  to  the  probability  that 
I  shall  discover  my  error.  In  trying  to  draw  more  clearly  the 
line  between  invasion  and  non-invasion,  all  of  us,  myself  in- 
cluded, are  destined  to  make  many  mistakes,  but  by  our  very 
mistakes  we  shall  approach  our  goal.  Only  Mr.  Pentecost  and 
those  who  think  with  him  take  themselves  out  of  the  path  of 
progress  by  assuming  that  it  is  possible  to  live  in  harmony 
simply  by  ignoring  the  fact  of  friction  and  the  causes  thereof. 
The  no-rule  which  Mr.  Pentecost  believes  in  would  amount 
in  practice  to  submission  to  the  rule  of  the  invasive  man. 
No-rule,  in  the  sense  of  no-force-in-any-case,  is  a  self-contra- 
diction. The  man  who  attempts  to  practise  it  becomes  an 
abettor  of  government  by  declining  to  resist  it.  So  long  as 
Mr.  Pentecost  is  willing  to  let  the  criminal  ride  rbughshod 
over  him  and  me,  his  "  preference  not  to  be  ruled  at  all  "  is  " 
nothing  but  a  beatific  revelling  in  sheerest  moonshine  and 


[Liberty^  June  8,  1889.] 

Connected  with  the  Massachusetts  branch  of  the  National 
Woman  Suffrage  Association  is  a  body  of  women  calling  itself 
the  Boston  Political  Class,  the  object  of  which  is  the  prepara- 
tion of  its  members  for  the  use  of  the  ballot.  On  Thursday 
evening,  May  30,  this  class  was  addressed  in  public  by  Dr. 
Wm.  T.  Harris,  the  Concord  philosopher,  on  the  subject  of 
State  Socialism,  Anarchism,  and  free  competition.  Let  me 
say,  parenthetically,  to  these  ladies  that,  if  they  really  wish  to 
learn  how  to  use  the  ballot,  they  would  do  well  to  apply  for 
instruction,  not  to  Dr.  Harris,  but  to  ex-Supervisor  Bill  Sim- 
mons, or  Johnny  O'Brien  of  New  York,  or  Senator  Matthew 
Quay,  or  some  leading  Tammany  brave,  or  any  of  the  "  bosses  " 
who  rule  city.  State,  and  nation  ;  for,  the  great  object  of  the 
ballot  being  to  test  truth  by  counting  noses  and  to  prove  your 
opponents  wrong  by  showing  them  to  be  less  numerous  than 
your  friends,  and  these  men  having  practically  demonstrated 
that  they  are  masters  of  the  art  of  rolling  up  majorities  at  the 
polls,  they  can  teach  the  members  of  the  Boston  Political  Class 


a  trick  or  two  by  which  they  can  gain  numerical  supremacy, 
while  Dr.  Harris,  in  the  most  favorable  view  of  the  case,  can 
only  elevate  their  intelligence  and  thereby  fix  them  more  hope- 
lessly in  a  minority  that  must  be  vanquished  in  a  contest  where 
ballots  instead  of  brains  decide  the  victory. 

But  let  that  pass.  I  am  not  concerned  now  with  these  ex- 
cellent ladies,  but  with  Dr.  Harris's  excellent  address  ;  for  it 
was  excellent,  notwithstanding  the  fact  that  he  intended  it 
partly  as  a  blow  at  Anarchism.  Instead  of  being  such  a  blow, 
the  discourse  was  really  an  affirmation  of  Anarchism  almost 
from  beginning  to  end,  at  least  in  so  far  as  it  dealt  with  prin- 
ciples, and  departed  from  Anarchism  only  in  two  or  three 
mistaken  attempts  to  illustrate  the  principles  laid  down  and 
to  identify  existing  society  with  them  as  expressive  of  them. 

After  positing  the  proposition  that  the  object  of  society  is 
the  production  of  self-conscious  intelligence  in  its  highest 
form,  or,  in  other  words,  the  most  perfect  individuality,  the 
lecturer  spent  the  first  half  of  his  time  in  considering  State  So- 
cialism from  this  standpoint.  He  had  no  difficulty  in  show- 
ing that  the  absorption  of  enterprise  by  the  State  is  indeed  a 
"  looking  backward," — a  very  long  look  backward  at  that  com- 
munism which  was  the  only  form  of  society  known  to  pri- 
mitive man ;  at  that  communism  which  purchases  material 
equality  at  the  expense  of  the  destruction  of  liberty  ;  at  that 
communism  out  of  which  evolution,  v/ith  its  tendency  toward 
individuality,  has  been  gradually  lifting  mankind  for  thousands 
of  years  ;  at  that  communism  which,  by  subjecting  the  indi- 
vidual rights  of  life  and  property  to  industrial  tyranny,  thereby 
renders  necessary  a  central  political  tyranny  to  at  least  par- 
tially secure  the  right  to  life  and  make  possible  the  continuance 
of  some  semblance  of  social  existence.  The  lecturer  took  the 
position  that  civil  society  is  dependent  upon  freedom  in  pro- 
duction, distribution,  and  consumption,  and  that  such  freedom 
is  utterly  incompatible  with  State  Socialism,  which  in  its  ulti- 
mate implies  the  absolute  control  of  all  these  functions  by 
arbitrary  power  as  a  substitute  for  economic  law.  Therefore 
Dr.  Harris,  setting  great  value  upon  civil  society,  has  no  use 
for  State  Socialism.  Neither  have  the  Anarchists.  Thus  far, 
then,  the  Anarchists  and  this  teacher  of  the  Boston  Political 
Class  walk  hand  in  hand. 

Dr.  Harris,  however,  labors  under  a  delusion  that  just  at  this 
point  he  parts  company  with  us.  As  we  follow  his  argument 
further,  we  shall  see  if  this  be  true.  The  philosophy  of  society, 
he  continued  in  substance,  is  coextensive  with  a  ground  covered 
by  four  institutions, — namely,  the  family,  civil  society,  the  State, 

§4  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

and  the  Church.  Proceeding  then  to  define  the  specific  pur- 
poses of  these  institutions,  he  declared  that  the  object  of 
the  family  is  to  assure  the  reproduction  of  individuals  and 
prepare  them,  by  guidance  through  childhood,  to  become  rea- 
sonable beings  ;  that  the  object  of  civil  society  is  to  enable 
each  individual  to  reap  advantage  from  the  powers  of  all 
other  individuals  through  division  of  labor,  free  exchange, 
and  other  economic  means  ;  that  the  object  of  the  State  is  to 
protect  each  individual  against  aggression  and  secure  him  in 
his  freedom  as  long  as  he  observes  the  equal  freedom  of  others  ; 
and  that  the  object  of  the  Church  (using  the  term  in  its  broad- 
est sense,  and  not  as  exclusively  applicable  to  the  various 
religious  bodies)  is  to  encourage  the  investigation  and  perfec- 
tion of  science,  literature,  the  fine  arts,  and  all  those  higher 
humanities  that  make  life  worth  living  and  tend  to  the  eleva- 
tion and  completion  of  self-conscious  intelligence  or  individu- 
ality. Each  of  these  objects,  in  the  view  of  the  lecturer,  is 
necessary  to  the  existence  of  any  society  worthy  of  the  name, 
and  the  omission  of  any  one  of  them  disastrous.  The  State 
Socialists,  he  asserted  truthfully,  would  ruin  the  whole  struc- 
ture by  omitting  civil  society,  whereas  the  Anarchists,  he  as- 
serted erroneously,  would  equally  ruin  it  by  omitting  the  State. 
Right  here  lies  Dr.  Harris's  error,  and  it  is  the  most  vulgar  of 
all  errors  in  criticism, — that  of  treating  the  ideas  of  others  from 
the  standpoint,  not  of  their  definitions,  but  of  your  own.  Dr. 
Harris  hears  that  the  Anarchists  wish  to  abolish  the  State, 
and  straightway  he  jumps  to  the  conclusion  that  they  wish  to 
abolish  what  he  defines  as  the  State.  And  this,  too,  in  spite 
of  the  fact  that,  to  my  knowledge,  he  listened  not  long  ago  to 
the  reading  of  a  paper  by  an  Anarchist  from  which  it  was 
clearly  to  be  gathered  that  the  Anarchists  have  no  quarrel  with 
any  institution  that  contents  itself  with  enforcing  the  law  of 
equal  freedom,  and  that  they  oppose  the  State  only  after  first 
defining  it  as  an  institution  that  claims  authority  over  the  non- 
aggressive  individual  and  enforces  that  authority  by  physical 
force  or  by  means  that  are  effective  only  because  they  can  and 
will  be  backed  by  physical  force  if  necessary.  Far  from  omitting 
the  State  as  Dr.  Harris  defines  it.,  the  Anarchists  expressly  favor 
such  an  institution,  by  whatever  name  it  may  be  called,  as  long 
as  its  raison  d'etre  continues  ;  and  certainly  Dr.  Harris  would 
not  demand  its  preservation  after  it  had  become  superfluous. 

In  principle,  then,  are  not  the  Anarchists  and  Dr.  Harris  in 
agreement  at  every  essential  point?-- It  certainly  seems  so. 
I  do  not  know  an  Anarchist  that  would  not  accept  every 
division  of  his  social  map. 


Defining  the  object  of  the  family  as  he  defines  it,  the 
Anarchists  believe  in  the  family  ;  only  they  insist  that  free 
competition  and  experiment  shall  always  be  allowed  in  order 
that  it  may  be  determined  what  form  of  family  best  secures 
this  object. 

Defining  the  object  of  civil  society  as  he  defines  it,  the  An- 
archists believe  in  civil  society ;  only  they  insist  that  the  free- 
dom of  civil  society  shall  be  complete  instead  of  partial. 

Defining  the  object  of  the  State  as  he  defines  it,  the  Anar- 
chists believe  in  the  State  ;  only  they  insist  that  the  greater^part, 
if  not  all,  of  the  necessity  for  its  existence  is  the  result  of  an 
artificial  limitation  of  the  freedom  of  civil  society,  and  that 
the  completion  of  industrial  freedom  may  one  day  so  harmo- 
nize individuals  that  it  will  no  longer  be  necessary  to  provide 
a  guarantee  of  political  freedom. 

Defining  the  object  of  the  Church  as  he  defines  it,  the  An- 
archists most  certainly  believe  in  the  Church  ;  only  they  insist 
that  all  its  work  shall  be  purely  voluntary,  and  that  its  discov- 
eries and  achievements,  however  beneficial,  shall  not  be  im- 
posed upon  the  individual  by  authority. 

But  there  is  a  point,  unhappily,  where  the  Anarchists  and  Dr. 
Harris  do  part  company,  and  that  point  is  reached  when  he 
declares  or  assumes  or  leaves  it  to  be  inferred  that  the  present 
form  of  the  family  is  the  form  that  best  secures  the  objects  of 
the  family,  and  that  no  attempt  at  any  other  form  is  to  be  tol- 
erated, although  evidence  of  the  horrors  engendered  by  the 
prevailing  family  life  is  being  daily  spread  before  our  eyes  in 
an  ever-increasing  volume  ;  th-at  the  present  form  of  civil  so- 
ciety is  the  embodiment  of  complete  economic  freedom,  al- 
though it  is  undeniable  that  the  most  important  freedoms,  those 
without  which  all  other  freedoms  are  of  little  or  no  avail, — the 
freedom  of  banking  and  the  freedom  to  take  possession  of  un- 
occupied land, — exist  nowhere  in  the  civilized  world  ;  that  the 
existing  State  does  nothing  but  enforce  the  law  of  equal  free- 
dom, although  it  is  unquestionably  based  upon  a  compulsory 
tax  that  is  itself  a  denial  of  equal  freedom,  and  is  daily  adding 
to  ponderous  volumes  of  statutes  the  bulk  of  which  are  either 
sumptuary  and  meddlesome  in  character  or  devised  in  the  in- 
terest of  privilege  and  monopoly  ;  and  that  the  existing  Church 
carries  on  its  work  in  accordance  with  the  principle  of  free 
competition,  in  spite  of  the  indubitable  fact  that,  in  its  various 
fields  of  religion,  science,  literature,  and  the  arts,  it  is  endowed 
with  innumerable  immunities,  favors,  prerogatives,  and  li- 
censes, with  the  extent  and  stringency  of  which  it  is  still 

86  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

All  these  assumptions  clearly  show  that  Dr.  Harris  is  a  man 
of  theory,  and  not  of  practice.  He  knows  nothing  but  disem- 
bodied principles.  Consequently,  when  the  State  Socialist 
proposes  to  embody  a  principle  antagonistic  to  his,  he  recog- 
nizes it  as  such  and  demolishes  it  by  well-directed  arguments. 
But  this  same  antagonistic  principle,  so  far  as  it  is  already  em- 
bodied, is  unrecognizable  by  him.  As  soon  as  it  becomes  in- 
carnate, he  mistakes  it  for  his  own.  No  matter  what  shape 
it  has  taken,  be  it  a  banking  monopoly,  or  a  land  monopoly,  or 
a  national  post-office  monopoly,  or  a  common  school  system, 
or  a  compulsory  tax,  or  a  setting-up  of  non-aggressive  individ- 
uals to  be  shot  at  by  an  enemy,  he  hastens  to  offer  it  one 
hand,  while  he  waves  the  flag  of  free  competition  with  the 
other.  In  consequence  of  its  fleshly  wrappings,  he  is  consti- 
tutionally incapable  of  combating  the  status  quo.  For  this 
reason  he  is  not  an  altogether  competent  teacher,  and  is  liable 
to  confuse  the  minds  of  the  ambitious  ladies  belonging  to  the 
Boston  Political  Class. 


{Liberty,  January  25,  1890.] 

Sir  : 

That  barrel-organ  outside  my  window  goes  near  to  driving  me  mad  (I 
mean  madder  than  I  was  before).  What  am  I  to  do  ?  I  cannot  ask  the 
State,  as  embodied  in  the  person  of  a  blue-coated  gentleman  at  the  corner, 
to  move  him  on  ;  because  I  have  given  notice  that  I  intend  to  move  on 
the  said  blue-coated  gentleman  himself.  In  other  words,  I  have  given  the 
State  notice  to  quit.  Ask  the  organ-grinder  politely  to  carry  his  melody 
elsewhere  ?  I  have  tried  that,  but  he  only  executes  a  double-shuffle  and 
puts  out  his  tongue.  Ought  I  to  rush  out  and  punch  his  head  ?  But, 
firstly,  that  might  be  looked  upon  as  an  invasion  of  his  personal  liberty  ; 
and,  secondly,  he  might  punch  mine  ;  and  the  last  state  of  this  man  would 
be  worse  than  the  first.  Ought  I  to  move  out  of  the  way  myself  ?  But  I 
cannot  conveniently  take  my  house  with  me,  or  even  my  library.  I  tried 
another  plan.  I  took  out  my  cornet,  and,  standing  by  his  side,  executed 
a  series  of  movements  that  would  have  moved  the  bowels  of  Cerberus. 
The  only  effect  produced  was  a  polite  note  from  a  neighbor  (whom  I  re- 
spect) begging  me  to  postpone  my  solo,  as  it  interfered  with  the  pleasing 
harmonies  of  the  organ.  Now  Fate  forbid  that  I  should  curtail  the  hap- 
piness of  an  esteemed  fellow-streetsman.  What  then  was  I  to  do  ?  I  put 
on  my  hat  and  sallied  forth  into  the  streets  with  a  heavy  heart  full  of  the 
difficulties  of  my  individualist  creed.  The  first  person  I  met  was  a  tramp 
who  accosted  me  and  exposed  a  tongue  white  with  cancer, — whether  real 
or  artificial  I  do  not  know.  It  nearly  made  me  sick,  and  I  really  do  not 
think  that  persons  ought  to  go  about  exposing  disgusting  objects  with 


a  view  to  gain.  I  did  not  hand  him  the  expected  penny,  but  I  briefly — 
very  briefly — expressed  a  hope  that  an  infinite  being  would  be  pleased  to 
consign  him  to  infinite  torture,  and  passed  on.  I  wandered  through  street 
after  street,  all  full  of  houses  painted  in  different, shades  of  custard-color, 
toned  with  London  fog,  and  all  just  sufficiently  like  one  another  to  make 
one  wish  that  they  were  either  quite  alike  or  very  different.  And  I 
wondered  whether  something  might  not  be  done  to  compel  all  the  owners 
to  paint  at  the  same  time  and  with  the  same  tints.  At  last  I  reached 
a  place  where  the  road  was  rendered  impassable  by  a  crowd  which  had 
gathered  to  listen  to  an  orator  who  was  shouting  from  an  inverted  tub. 
He  was  explaining  that  many  years  ago  Jesus  died  to  save  sinners  like  us, 
and  therefore  the  best  thing  we  could  do  was  to  deprive  the  publicans 
of  their  licenses  without  compensation.  I  ventured  to  remark  that, 
although  this  might  be  perfectly  true,  still  I  wanted  to  get  into  the 
country  along  the  common  highway,  and  that  the  crowd  he  had  coUecled 
prevented  me  from  doing  so.  He  replied  that  he  knew  my  sort,  what- 
ever that  may  mean  ;  but  his  words  seem  to  have  acted  like  magic  on  his 
hearers,  for,  although  I  did  at  last  elbow  my  way  through  the  throng,  it 
was  not  without  damage  to  the  aforementioned  hat.  It  was  a  relief  to  reach 
the  country  and  to  sit  down  by  a  stream  and  watch  the  children  gathering 
blackberries.  I  was,  however,  surprised  to  find  that  the  berries  were  still 
pink-  and  far  from  ripe.  "Why  don't  you -wait  till  they  are  ripe?"  I 
asked.  "  Coz  if  we  did  there  would  be  none  left  by  then,"  was  the  some- 
what puzzling  reply.  "  But  surely,  if  you  all  agreed  to  wait,  it  could  be 
managed,"  I  said.  "  Oh  yes,  sir,"  responded  a  little  girl,  with  a  pitying 
laugh  at  my  simplicity,  "but  the  others  always  come  and  gather  them 
just  before  they  are  ripe."  I  don't  quite  know  who  the  others  are,  but 
surely  something  ought  to  be  done  to  put  a  stop  to  this  extravagant  haste 
and  ruinous  competition.  The  result  of  the  present  system  is  that  nobody 
gets  any  ripe  blackberries.  I  mentioned  the  subject  to  an  old  gentleman 
who  was  fishing  in  the  rivulet;  "  Exactly  so,"  said  he,  "it  is  just  the 
same  with  fish.  You  see  there  is  a  close  season  for  salmon  and  some 
sorts  ;  but  those  scoundrels  are  steadily  destroying  the  rest  by  catching 
the  immature  fish,  instead  of  waiting  till  they  are  fit  for  anything.  I  sup- 
pose they  think  that  they  will  not  have  the  luck  to  catch  them  again,  and 
that  a  sprat  in  hand  is  worth  a  herring  in  a  bush."  I  admitted  the  force 
and  beauty  of  the  metaphor,  and  proceeded  on  my  journey. 

Beginning  to  feel  hungry,  I  made  tracks  for  the  nearest  village,  where 
I  knew  I  should  find  an  inn.  A  few  hundred  yards  from  the  houses  I 
observed  a  party  of  hulking  fellows  stripping  on  the  bank  with  a  view  to 
a  plunge  and  a  swim.  It  struck  me  they  were  rather  close  to  the  road, 
but  I  nevertheless  thought  it  my  duty  to  resent  the  interference  of  a  police- 
man who  appeared  on  the  scene  and  rather  roughly  ordered  the  fellows 
off.  "  I  suppose,"  said  I,  "  that  free  citizens  have  a  right  to  wash  in  a  free 
stream."  But  the  representative  of  law  and  order  fixed  upon  me  a  pair  of 
boiled  eyes,  and,  without  trusting  his  tongue,  pointed  to  a  blackboard 
stuck  on  a  post  some  little  way  off.  I  guessed  his  meaning  and  went  on. 
When  I  reached  the  inn,  I  ordered  a  chop  and  potatoes  and  a  pint  of 
bitter,  and  was  surprised  to  find  that  some  other  persons  were  served 
before  me,  although  they  had  come  in  later.  Presently  I  observed  one 
of  them  in  the  act  of  tipping  the  waiter.  "  Excuse  me,  sir,"  said  I,  "but 
that  is  not  fair  ;  you  are  bribing  that  man  to  give  you  an  undue  share  of 
attention.  I  presume  you  also  tip  porters  at  a  railway  station,  and  per- 
haps custom-house  officers?"  "Of  course  I  do;  what's  that  to  you? 
Mind  your  own  business,"  was  the  reply  I  received.      I  had  evidently 

88  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

made  myself  unpopular  with  these  gentlemen.  One  of  them  was  chewing 
a  quid  and  spitting  about  the  floor.  One  was  walking  up  and  down  the 
room  in  a  pair  of  crealsing  boots,  and  taking  snuff  the  while  ;  and  a  third 
was  voraciously  tackling  a  steak,  and  removing  lumps  of  gristle  from  his 
mouth  to  his  plate  in  the  palm  of  his  hand.  After  each  gulp  of  porter,  he 
seemed  to  take  a  positive  pride  in  yielding  to  the  influences  of  flatulence 
in  a  series  of  reports  which  might  have  raised  Lazarus.  My  own  rations 
appeared  at  last,  and  I  congratulated  myself  that,  by  the  delay,  I  had  been 
spared  the  torture  of  feeding  in  company  with  .^olus,  who  was  already 
busy  with  the  toothpick,  when  to  my  dismay  he  produced  a  small  black 
clay  pipe  and  proceeded  to  stuff  it  with  black  shag.  "  There  is,  I  believe, 
a  smoking-room  in  the  house,"  I  remarked  deprecatingly  ;  "otherwise  I 
would  not  ask  you  to  allow  me  to  finish  my  chop  before  lighting  your 
pipe  here;  don't  you  think  tobacco  rather  spoils  one's  appetite?"  I 
thought  I  had  spoken  politely,  but  all  the  answer  I  got  was  this,  "Look 
'ere,  governor,  if  this  'ere  shanty  ain't  good  enough  for  the  like  of  you, 
you'd  better  walk  on  to  the  Star  and  Garter."  And,  awaiting  my  reply 
with  an  expression  of  mingled  contempt  and  defiance,  he  proceeded  to 
emphasize  his  argument  by  boisterously  coughing  across  the  table  with- 
out so  much  as  raising  his  hand.  I  am  not  particularly  squeamish,  but 
I  draw  the  line  at  victuals  that  have  been  coughed  over.  To  all  practical 
purposes,  my  lunch  was  gone, — stolen.  I  looked  round  for  sympathy, 
but  the  feeling  of  the  company  was  clearly  against  me.  The  gentleman 
in  the  creaking  boots  laughed,  and,  walking  up  to  th^  table,  laid  his  hand 
upon  it  in  the  manner  of  an  orator  in  labor.  He  paused  to  marshal  his 
thoughts,  and  I  had  an  opportunity  of  observing  him  with  several  senses 
at  once.  His  nails  were  in  deep  mourning,  his  clothes  reeked  of  stale 
tobacco  and  perspiration,  and  his  breath  of  onions  and  beer.  His  face 
was  broad  and  rubicund,  but  not  ill-featured,  and  his  expression  bore  the 
stamp  of  honesty  and  independence.  No  one  could  mistake  him  for 
other  than  he  was, — a  sturdy  British  farmer.  After  about  half  a  minute's 
incubation,  his  ideas  found  utterance.  "  I'll  tell  you  what  it  is,  sir,"  he 
said,  "  I  don't  know  who  you  are,  but  this  is  a  free  country,  and  it's 
market  day  an'  all."  I  could  not  well  dispute  any  of  these  propositions, 
and,  inasmuch  as  they  appeared  to  be  conclusive  to  the  minds  of  the 
company,  my  position  was  a  difficult  one.  ''I  do  not  question  your 
rights,  friend,"  I  ventured  to  say  at  last,  "but  I  think  a  little  consider- 
ation for  other  people's  feelings.  .  .  eh?"  "Folks  shouldn't  have  feel- 
ings that  isn't  usual  and  proper,  and  if  they  has,  they  should  go  where 
their  feelings  is  usual  and  proper,  that's  me,"  was  the  reply  ;  and  it  is  not 
without  philosophy.  The  same  idea  had  already  dimly  shimmered  in  my 
own  mind  ;  besides,  was  I  not  an  individualist  ?  "  You  are  right,  friend," 
said  I,  "  so  I  will  wish  you  good  morning  and  betake  myself  elsewhere." 
"Good  morning,"  said  the  farmer,  offering  his  hand,  and  "Good  rid- 
dance," added  the  gentleman  with  the  toothpick. 

As  I  emerged  from  the  inn,  not  a  little  crest-fallen,  a  cat  shot  across 
the  road  followed  by  a  yelping  terrier,  who  in  his  turn  was  urged  on  by 
two  rosy  little  boys.  "Stop  that  game,"  I  shouted,  "what  harm  has 
pussy  done  you?"  The  lads  did  stop,  but  the  merry  twinkle  in  their 
eyes  betokened  a  fixed  intention  to  renew  the  sport  as  soon  as  old  Mar- 
plot was  out  of  the  way.  But  the  incident  was  not  thrown  away  on  a 
pale  man  with  a  long  black  coat  and  a  visage  to  match.  "  It  is  of  no 
use,  my  dear  sir,"  said  he,  shaking  his  head  and  smiling  drearily,  "  it  is 
the  nature  of  the  dog  to  worry  cats  ;  and  it  is  the  nature  of  the  boys  lo 
urge  on  the  dog  ;  we  are  all  born  in  sin  and  the  children  of  wrath.      l 


used  to  enjoy  cat-hunts  myself  before  I  was  born  again.  You  naust  edu- 
cate, sir,  educate  before  you  can  reform.  Mark  my  words,  sir,  the 
school-board  is  the  ladder  to  the  slcies."  "  The  school-board  ! "  I  ejacu- 
lated ;  "  you  do  not  mean  to  say  you  approve  of  State-regulated  educa- 
tion ?  May  I  ask  whether  you  also  approve  of  a  State  religion — a  State 
church?"  I  thought  this  was  a  poser,  but  I  was  mistaken.  "  The  two 
things  are  not  in  pari  materia,'^  replied  the  Dissenting  minister  (for 
there  was  no  mistaking  his  species);  "the  established  church  is  the  upas- 
tree  which  poisons  the  whole  forest.  It  was  planted  by  the  hand  of  a 
deluded  aristocracy.  The  school-board  was  planted  by  the  people."  "  I 
do  not  see  that  it  much  signifies  who  planted  the  tree,  so  long  as  it  is 
planted;  but,  avoiding  metaphor,  the  point  is  this,"  said  I  emphatically  : 
"is  one  fraction  of  the  population  to  dictate  to  the  other  fraction  what 
they  are  to  believe,  what  they  are  to  learn,  what  they  are  to  do?  And  I 
do  not  care  whether  the  dictating  fraction  is  the  minority  or  the  major- 
ity. The  principle  is  the  same — despotism."  The  man  of  God  started. 
"  What  !"  he  cried,  "are  we  to  have  no  laws?  Is  every  man  to  do  that 
which  is  right  in  his  own  eyes  ?  Are  you  aware,  sir,  that  you  are  preach- 
ing Anarchy  ?  "  It  was  now  my  turn  to  double.  "  Anarchy  is  a  strong 
expression,"  said  I,  most  disingenuously;  "all  I  meant  to  say  is  that 
the  less  the  State  interferes  between  man  and  man,  the  better  ;  surely 
you  will  admit  that  ?  "  And  now  I  saw  from  my  interlocutor's  contracted 
brow  and  compressed  lips  that  an  answer  was  forthcoming  which  would 
knock  all  the  wind  out  of  me.  And  I  was  right.  "Do  you  see  that 
house  with  the  flags  on  the  roof  and  that  sculptured  group  over  the  en- 
trance representing  the  World,  the  Flesh,  and  the  Devil?"  "  I  see  the 
house,  but,  if  you  will  pardon  me,  I  think  the  group  is  intended  for  the 
Three  Graces."  The  parson  shot  an  angry  glance  at  me  ;  he  knew  well 
enough  what  the  figures  were  meant  for  ;  but  even  the  godly  have  their 
sense  of  grim  humor.  He  continued  ;  "That  is  the  porch  of  Hell  ;  and 
there  at  the  corner  yawns  Hell  itself:  they  are  commonly  called  Old 
Joe's  Theatre  of  Varieties,  and  the  Green  Griffin  :  but  we  prefer  to  call 
them  by  their  right  names  "  "  Dear  me  !"  I  said,  somewhat  appalled  by 
the  earnestness  of  his  manner,  "are  they  very  dreadful  places?"  I  was 
beginning  to  feel  quite  "  creepy,"  and  could  almost  smell  the  brimstone. 
But,  without  heeding  my  query,  he  continued  :  "  Are  we  to  look  on  with 
folded  hands,  while  innocent  young  girls  crowd  into  that  sink  of  iniquity, 
listen  to  ribald  and  obscene  songs,  witness  semi-nude  and  licentious 
dances,  meet  with  dissolute  characters,  and  finally  enter  the  jaws  of  the 
Green  Grifiin  to  drink  of  the  stream  that  maddens  the  soul,  that  deadens 
the  conscience,  and  that  fires  the  passions?"  Here  he  paused  for  breath, 
and  then  in  a  sepulchral  whisper  he  added  :  "  And  what  follows  ?  What 
follows?"  This  question  he  asked  several  times,  each  time  in  a  lower 
key,  with  his  eyes  fixed  on  mine  as  though  he  expected  to  read  the 
answer  at  the  back  of  my  skull  on  the  inside.  "  I  will  tell  you  what  fol- 
lows," he  continued,  to  my  great  relief  ;  "the  end  is  Mrs.  Fletcher's." 
There  was  something  so  grotesque  in  this  anti-climax  that  I  gave  sudden 
vent  to  a  short  explosive  laugh,  like  the  snap  of  the  electric  spark.  I 
could  not  help  it,  and  I  was  truly  sorry  to  be  so  rude,  and,  in  order  to 
avoid  mutual  embarrassment,  I  fairly  bolted  down  the  street,  leaving  my 
teacher  transfixed  with  pious  horror.  To  a  denizen  of  the  village,  doubt- 
less, long  association  had  imbued  the  name  of  Mrs.  Fletcher  with  a  lurid 
connotation,  like  unto  the  soothing  influence  of  that  blessed  word  Mes- 
opotamia,— only  in  the  opposite  direction. 

I  was  now  in  the  position  of  the  happy  man  of  fiction  "  with  a  pocket 

po  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

full  of  money  and  a  cellar  full  of  beer"  ;  only  my  cellar  was  nine  miles 
»off  and  my  money  was  inconvertible,  to  all  practical  intents  and  purposes. 
There  was  no  other  inn  ;  I  dare  not  try  the  Green  Griffin,  and  I  did  not 
know  the  way  to  "  Mrs.  Fletcher's."  I  wanted  to  get  back  to  town.  "  Is 
there  a  railway  station  anywhere  near  here?"  I  inquired  of  a  bald- 
headed  man,  who  was  removing  flower-pots  from  his  front  parlor  win- 
dow-sill. "  Railway  station  ?  "  he  repeated  with  a  snigger,  "  not  much  ; 
how  should  there  be  a  railway  station?"  "And  pray  why  not?"  I 
asked.  "You  may  well  ask,"  replied  the  bald-headed  man  ;  "if  you 
knew  these  parts,  you  would  know  that  half  the  land  between  here 
and  town  belongs  to  Lord  Brownmead  ;  and  he  opposed  the  bill  which 
the  Company  brought  into  Parliament ;  so  of  course  the  lords  threw  it 
out  and  refused  the  concession  :  that  is  why  there  is  no  railway  station. 
That  is  why  you  and  I  may  walk  or  creep  or  go  in  balloons.  I  wonder 
his  lordship  or  his  lordship's  ancestors  ever  allowed  the  high  road  to  be 
made.  Why  should  not  you  and  I  grub  our  way  underground,  like 
moles?  It  is  good  enough  for  us,  1  suppose.  Railway  station,  indeed  !" 
And  down  came  a  flower-pot  with  a  crash,  just  to  accentuate  the  absurd- 
ity of  the  idea.  "  Lord  Brownmead  belongs  to  the  Liberty  and  Prop- 
erty Defence  League,  you  know,  and  he  says  no  one  has  a  right  to  inter- 
fere with  his  liberty  to  do  what  he  likes  with  his  own  land.  Quite  right  ; 
quite  right,"  he  continued  in  the  same  tone  of  bitter  irony,  "  nothing  like 
liberty  and  property  !  "  This  was  an  awkward  dig  for  me.  I  had  always 
believed  in  liberty,  and  I  was  thinking  of  joining  Lord  Brownmead's 
association.  "  Perhaps  there  is  a  tramway  or  some  other  sufficient  means 
of  rapid  communication,"  I  suggested,  "in  which  case  it  may  be  that  a 
railway  is  not  imperatively  necessary."  "  Perhaps  there  is,"  sneered 
the  little  man,  "  perhaps  there  is  ;  only  there  isn't,  don't  you  see,  so 
that's  where  it  is  ;  and  if  you  prefer  walking  or  paying  for  a  fly,  I  am 
sure  I  have  no  objection.  You  have  my  full  permission,  and  Lord 
Brownmead's  too  ;  only  mind  you  don't  take  the  short  cut  by  the  bridle- 
path, because  that  is  closed.  It  appears  it  is  not  a  right  of  way.  It  is 
private,  quite  private.  Don't  forget."  I  did  not  want  the  irascible  little 
man  to  take  me  for  a  toady,  so  I  merely  asked  why  there  was  no  tram- 
way. "Why?"  he  shouted,  and  I  began  to  fear  physical  argument, 
' '  why  ?  because  Lord  Brownmead  and  the  carriage-folk  say  that  tramways 
cut  up  the  road  and  damage  the  wheels  of  their  carriages  :  that's  why. 
Isn't  it  a  sufficient  reason  for  you  ?  We  lower  ten  thousand  must  walk, 
for  fear  the  upper  ten  should  have  to  pay  for  an  extra  coat  of  paint  at 
the  carriage-builder's.  That's  reasonable,  isn't  it?"  "  I  do  not  know 
that  it  is,  my  dear  sir,"  I  replied,  "  but  after  all  you  know  we  have  a 
right  to  use  the  common  road  in  any  way  for  v^  was  originally  in- 
tended. They  can  do  no  more.  And  it  does  seem  to  me  that  a  tram- 
way monopolizes  for  the  benefit  of  a  class  (a  large  class,  I  grant  you) 
more  than  its  fair  share  of  the  common  rights  of  way.  Ordinary  traffic 
is  very  much  impeded  by  it,  and  the  rails  do  certainly  cause  damage  and 
annoyance  to  persons  who  never  use  the  public  vehicles.  Trams  may 
be  e.xpedient,  friend,  but  they  certainly  are  not  just."  I  thought  this 
would  have  wound  up  the  little  man  for  at  least  another  quarter  of  an 
hour,  but  who  can  read  the  human  mind  ?  Not  another  word  did  he  utter. 
I  fancy  my  last  remark  had  satisfied  him  that  I  was  a  Tory  or  an  aristocrat 
or  one  of  the  carriage-folk,  and  consequently  beneath  contempt  and  out- 
side the  pale  of  reason.  After  an  awkward  pause,  I  ventured  to  say: 
"  Well,  thank  you,  I  wish  you  good  morning,"  but  even  that  elicited  no 
response,  and  I  walked  slowly  off,  feeling  some  slight   loss   of  dignity, 


I  presently  ascertained  that  coaches  ran  every  two  hours  from  the  Green 
Griffin  to  the  Royal  Oak  in  London,  a  fact  which  the  bald-headed  man 
had  maliciously  (as  I  thought)  concealed  from  me.  The  line  had  been 
established,  as  the  barman  of  the  Griffin  told  me,  by  Lord  Brownmead 
himself  some  years  ago  and  was  maintained  at  considerable  loss  for  the 
benefit  of  his  tenantry  and  his  poorer  neighbors  ;  and,  as  some  people 
thought,  to  make  amends  for  his  opposition  to  the  tramway.  "  Some- 
times," added  the  barman,  "his  lordship  drives  hisself,  and  then,  0 
lor  !"  There  could  be  no  doubt  from  the  gusto  with  which  the  last 
words  were  pronounced  that  this  individual  derived  a  more  tangible  joy 
from  these  occasions  than  mere  sympathy  with  the  honored  guest  who 
occupied  a  seat  on  the  box  next  the  distinguished  whip  :  and  I  accord- 
ingly slipped  half  a  crown  into^his  hand  a propos  de  boltes.  He  expressed 
no  surprise  whatever,  but  just  as  the  coach  was  about  to  start,  I  found 
myself  the  pampered  ward  of  a  posse  of  ostlers,  grooms,  and  hangers-on, 
who  literally  lifted  me  into  the  envied  seat  and  evinced  the  most  touch- 
ing concern  for  my  comfort  and  safety.  My  knees  were  swathed  in  rugs 
and  the  apron  was  firmly  buckled  across  to  keep  me  warm  and  dry, 
without  any  effort  on  my  part,  and  as  the  leaders  straightened  out  the 
traces  and  Lord  Brownmead  cracked  the  whip,  half-a-dozen  pair  of  eyes 
"  looked  towards  me,"  while  their  owners  drank  what  they  were  pleased 
to  call  my  health,  but  which  looked  to  me  more  like  beer.  As  we  dashed 
down  the  high  street,  a  little  man  with  a  bald  head  cast  a  withering 
glance  at  the  coach  and  its  occupants,  and,  when  his  eyes  met  mine,  his 
expression  said  as  plain  as  words  :  "  /  thought  so."  I  soon  forgot  him, 
and  fell  to  reflecting  on  the  curious  circumstance  that  it  should  be  in  the 
power  of  a  few  potmen  and  stablemen  to  sell  a  nobleman's  company  and 
conversation  for  the  sum  of  half  a  crown.  Yet  so  it  undoubtedly  was. 
And  yet,  after  all,  it  is  hardly  stranger  than  that  these  same  potmen  and 
millions  more  of  their  own  class  should  have  the  power  of  selling  to  the 
highest  bidder  a  six-hundred-and-seventieth  part  of  kingly  prerogative. 
The  divine  right  of  kings  is  just  what  it  ever  was, — the  right  of  the 
strong  to  trample  on  the  weak,  the  absolute  despotism  of  the  effective 
majority.  Only  to-day,  instead  of  being  conferred  in  its  entirety  on  a 
single  person,  it  is  cut  up  into  six  hundred  and  seventy  little  bits,  and 
sold  in  lots  to  the  highest  bidder,  by  a  ring  of  five  millions  of  potmen 
and  their  like. 

Such  is  the  new  democracy,  I  thought,  and  I  might  possibly  have  built 
up  an  essay  on  the  reflection,  when  I  was  suddenly  roused  from  my 
reverie  by  a  grunt  from  the  box-seat.  "  I  beg  your  pardon,"  said  I,  "  I 
did  not  quite  catch  what  you  said."  "  Fine  bird,"  repeated  his  lordship 
in  a  louder  grunt,  and  jerking  his  thumb  in  the  direction  of  a  distant 
coppice.  "Begin  to-morrow  :  capital  prospect,"  he  continued.  "  Begin 
what  ?  "  I  asked,  a  little  ashamed  of  my  stupidity.  "  October  to-morrow," 
he  replied  :  "forgotten,  eh?"  "Oh,  ah  !  yes,  of  course,  October  the  ist, 
pheasant-shooting,  I  see,"  I  replied,  as  soon  as  I  caught  his  meaning. 
"  Done  any  good  this  season,  sir?"  he  went  on.  "Good,  how?  what 
good  ?  what  in  ?  I  don't  quite  understand,"  said  L  "  Moors,  moors,"  ex- 
plained Lord  Brownmead  ;  "  grouse,  sir,  grouse  :  are  you  .  .  .  er  .  .  ,  er?" 
"Oh,  I  see,  "  I  hastened  to  reply  ;  "you  mean  have  I  shot  many  grouse 
this  season  ;  no.  I  have  not  been  to  Scotland  this  year  ;  besides,  I  am 
short-sighted  and  do  not  shoot  at  all."  A  man  who  did  not  shoot  was 
hardly  wortli  talking  to,  and  a  long  silence  ensued.  At  last  our  Jehu  took 
pity  on  me.  "  Fish  I  suppose  ;  can't  hunt  all  the  year  round."  I  replied 
that  I  did  not  care  for  fishing,  and  that  I  had  no  horses  and  could  not  af- 

,  ^i  iNstfiAD  OF  A  Book. 

ford  to  hunt.  I  was  fast  becoming  an  object  of  keen  interest.  My  last 
admission  was  followed  by  a  series  of  grunts  at  intervals  of  about  half  a 
minute,  and  at  last  with  a  zeal  and  earnestness  which  he  had  not  yet  ex- 
hibited, and  in  a  louder  key  than  heretofore,  Lord  Brownmead  turned 
upon  me  with  this  query  :  "  Then  what  the  doose  do  you  do  to  kill  time, 
dammy  ?  "  I  explained  that  I  should  have  no  difficulty  in  killing  double  the 
quantity  of  that  article,  if  I  could  get  it.  "  Out  of  the  24  hours,"  said  I, 
"  which  is  the  usual  allowance  in  a  day,  I  sleep  7,  I  work  7,  I  spend 
about  2  over  my  meals,  and  that  only  leaves  8  for  recreation."  "Ay, 
ay,  but  what  do  you  mean  by  recreation,  sir?  That's  just  it,  dammy." 
"Oh,  sometimes  1  go  to  the  theatre,  sometimes  to  some  music-hall  ;  then 
I  go  and  spend  the  evening  with  friends,  and  all  that  sort  of  thing." 
"Balls, eh?"  "  No,  I  am  not  fond  of  dancing. "  "  Ha,  humph  !  that's 
better  ;  the  tenth  don't  dance,  you  know  ;  never  went  to  a  prancing  party 
in  my  life."  "  Then  last  night  Iwent  to  the  Agricultural  Hall  to  hear 
Mr.  Gladstone,"  I  continued.  "  Eh  ?  what  ?  Mr.  who  ?  Be  good  enough 
not  to  mention  that  man's  name  in  my  presence,  sir.  He's  an  under- 
ground fellow,  sir,  an  underground  fellow."  I  was  evidently  on  thin  ice  ; 
so,  in  order  to  turn  the  conversation,  I  remarked  :  "  Pretty  country  this, 
my  lord."  "  Pretty  country  be  damned  !"  was  the  amiable  response  ;  ''  it 
is  not  like  the  same  country  since  that  infernal  bill  was  passed."  "  In- 
deed !  What  bill  is  that?"  Lord  Brownmead  cast  upon  me  a  look  of 
ineffable  scorn.  "  What  bill  do  you  suppose,  sir?  Are  you  a  foreigner? 
I  should  like  to  feed  that  fellow  on  hares  and  tabbits  for  the  rest  of  his 
life,  sir."  "  Has  the  Hares  and  Rabbits  Act  done  much  harm  ?"  I  inquired. 
"  Done  much  harm  ?  Has  it  revolutionized  the  country  ?  you  mean  ;  has 
it  ruined  the  agriculturist  ?  has  it  set  class  against  class?  has  it  turned 
honest  farmers  into  poachers  and  vermin  ?  See  that  spire  in  the  trees 
over  there  ?  Well,  that  poor  devil  used  to  live  on  his  glebe  ;  he  has  about 
fifteen  kids,  all  told  ;  he  used  to  have  rabbit-pie  every  Sunday.  And  now 
there  isn't  a  blessed  rabbit  in  the  place."  I  presumed  he  was  speaking 
of  the  pastor  and  not  the  steeple,  so  I  expressed  sympathy  with  one  who 
was  so  very  much  a  father  under  the  melancholy  circumstances.  "  Still," 
said  I,  "  the  rabbits  used  to  eat  up  a  good  deal  of  the  crops,  I  am  told." 
"  Nonsense,  sir,  nonsense  !  don't  believe  it,"  growled  his  lordship  ; 
"  they  never  ate  a  single  blade  more  than  they  were  worth  ;  and  if  they 
did,  the  devils  got  it  back  out  of  their  rents."  Most  of  my  companion's 
neighbors  appeared  to  be  devils  of  one  sort  or  another,  but  I  think  he 
was  referring  to  the  farmers  on  this  occasion.  "  The  devils  have  all  got 
votes,  sir,  that's  what  it  is  ;  they've  all  got  votes.  I  remember  the  time 
when  a  decent  tenant  would  as  soon  have  shot  his  wife  as  a  rabbit.  The 
fact  is,  we  are  moving  a  deal  too  quickly;  downhill  too,  and  no  brake 
on."  I  did  not  wish  to  express  agreement  with  this  sentiment,  so  I 
merely  said  :  "  I  believe  you  are  a  member  of  the  Liberty  and  Property 
DefenceLeague  ?  "  "Very  likely  ;  very  likely  ;  if  it  is  a  good  thing,  got 
up  to  counteract  that  underground  scoundrel.  Yes,  I  think  my  secretary 
did  put  me  down  for  £^0  a  year.  He  said  they  were  going  to  block  this 
Tenants' Compensation  Bill,  or  something  or  other.  Good  society,  very; 
ought  to  be  supported  by  honest  men."  "  Then  would  you  not  give  a 
tenant  compensation  for  unexhausted  improvements  ?  "  I  asked.  "  Com" 
pensation  !  "  bawled  Lord  Brownmead  ;  "  compensation  for  what?  Good 
God  !  If  one  of  those  fellows  on  my  town  property  put  up  a  conserva- 
tory, or  raised  his  house  a  story,  or  built  a  new  wing,  do  yo'u  suppose  at 
the  end  of  his  lease  he  would  ask  for  compensation  ?  He  would  think 
himself  mad  to  do  it, — mad,  sir.   And  why  should  the  country  be  different 

Ttt£  tisrblVibyAL,  SoctETY,  AND  tHe  state.  93 

from  the  town  ?  eh  ?  The  devils  go  into  the  thing  with  their  eyes  open,  I 
suppose.  A  bargain's  a  bargain,  isn't  it?  What  do  they  mean  by 
compensation?  I'd  compensate  them.  Clap  them  into  the  stocks. 
That's  what  they  want.  Depend  upon  it,  sir, "  he  added,  lowering  his 
voice  to  a  husky  whisper,  "the  old  man  is  an  unscrupulous  agitator,  and 
if  I  had  my  way,  I  would  lock  him  up.  If  he's  loose  much  longer,  he 
will  ruin  the  country.  Whoa,  Jerry,  steady  my  pet ;  damn  that  horse  !  " 
We  were  now  drawing  up  at  the  Royal  Oak,  and,  to  say  the  truth,  I  was 
not  altogether  sorry  to  get  out  of  the  atmosphere  of  fine,  old,  crusted 
toryism,  and  walk  along  the  street  among  my  equals.  And  yet,  there 
was  about  the  man  a  rugged  horror  of  mean  meddling  and  State  coddling 
which  one  could  not  but  respect.  "  A  bargain's  a  bargain."  Well,  that 
is  not  very  original ;  but  it  argues  a  healthy  moral  tone.  The  rabbit-pie 
argument  struck  me  as  rather  weak,  but,  take  him  for  all  in  all,  I  have 
met  politicians  who  have  disgusted  me  a  good  deal  more  than  Lord 

It  was  now  dusk,  and  the  evening  papers  were  out.  I  stopped  to  read 
the  placards  on  the  wall,  giving  a  summary  of  the  day's  news.  There 
was  nothing  very  new.  "Three  children  murdered  by  a  mother." 
"  Great  fire  in  the  Strand."  "  Loss  of  the  Seagull  with  all  hands."  On 
looking  into  the  details  to  which  these  announcements  referred,  I  found 
that  the  mother  of  the  children  was  a  widow,  who  had  insured  the  lives 
of  her  little  ones  in  the  London  and  County  Fire  Office  for  ;^io  each, 
and  had  then  pushed  them  into  a  reservoir.  Her  explanation  that 
they  had  fallen  in  while  playing  would  no  doubt  have  met  with  general 
acceptance  but  for  the  discovery  of  marks  of  violence  on  the  neck  of  the 
eldest  daughter,  who  had  evidently  struggled  resolutely  for  life.  Other 
evidence  then  cropped  up,  which  made  it  certain  that  the  children  were 
victims  of  foul  play.  The  editor  of  the  paper  expressed  himself  to  the 
effect  that  no  insurance  company  ought  to  be  allowed  to  insure  the  lives 
of  children,  thus  putting  temptation  in  the  way  of  the  poor.  Oddly 
enough,  the  fire  in  the  Strand  seemed  to  have  resulted  from  a  similar 
motive  and  a  similar  transaction.  A  hairdresser  had  insured  his  fittings 
and  stock  for  ;f  150  and  then  set  fire  to  his  shop.  Commenting  on  this, 
the  editor  had  nothing  to  say  about  the  iniquity  of  tempting  people  to 
commit  arson,  but  he  thought  the  State  should  see  that  all  buildings  in  a 
public  street  were  provided  with  concrete  floors  and  asbestos  paint ;  and 
that  muslin  curtains  should  be  forbidden.  The  Seagull,  laden  with  coals 
for  Gibraltar,  had  gone  down  within  sight  of  land,  off  Holyhead,  before 
assistance  could  be  obtained.  It  appears  she  had  been  insured  in  the 
Liverpool  Mutual  Marine  Association  for  double  the  value  of  hull  and 
cargo.  One  of  the  crew  had  refused  to  go,  on  the  ground  that  she  was 
unseaworthy,  and  he  was  sentenced  to  fourteen  days'  imprisonment  under 
the  Merchant  Shipping  Act.  The  editor  was  of  opinion  that,  although  he 
had  been  justly  sentenced,  still,  he  thought,  this  fearful  fulfilment  of  his 
prognostication  would  have  such  an  effect  on  the  minds  of  the  public 
that  his  further  incarceration  would  be  highly  inexpedient,  and  might  lead 
to  rioting.  He  was  further  of  opinion  that  marine  insurance  ought  to  be 
entirely  prohibited,  except  when  undertaken  by  underwriters  "  in  the  usual 
way."  This  article,  I  have  since  heard,  made  a  great  sensation  at 
Lloyd's,  and  four  thousand  copies  of  the  paper  were  gratuitously  dis- 
tributed in  the  neighborhood  of  the  docks  both  in  Liverpool  and  London. 
A  committee-is  being  formed  for  the  purpose  of  urging  Parliament  to 
make  all  marine  policies  void,  except  those  which  have  been  made  "  in 
he  usual  way."     It  is  obvious  that  the  crew  of  the  Seagull  have  not  died 

^4  iNSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

in  vain.  They  have  perished  in  the  cause  of  an  ancient  monopoly.  The 
public  indignation  at  their  cruel  fate  is  being  used  as  a  handy  hook  on 
which  to  hang  all  "  newfangled  systems  of  marine  insurance  which  have 
not  stood  the  test  of  time,  and  which  have  hardly  yet  seen  the  light  of 

I  had  reached  my  own  door  when  I  was  attracted  by  a  shout  and  the 
wrangling  of  many  angry  voices  round  the  corner  of  the  street.  Running 
round,  I  saw  the  debris  of  an  overturned  dog-cart.  Several  persons  seemed 
to  be  engaged  in  an  animated  debate  in  a  small  circle,  while  the  crowd 
played  the  rdle  of  a  Greek  chorus.  The  disputants  appeared  to  be  a  young 
gentleman  of  mettle,  in  a  high  collar  and  dog-skin  gloves,  a  broken-down 
solicitor's  clerk,  the  usual  policeman,  and  a  workman  in  corduroys.  It 
was  easy  to  explain  the  construction  of  the  group.  The  "  masher"  was 
obvious.'y  the  owner  of  the  ill-fated  dog-cart  ;  the  workman  was  the 
watchman  in  charge  of  the  traction-engine,  which  was  lying  quietly  at  the 
side  of  the  road  with  a  red  lamp  at  each  side.  The  clerk  was  "the  man 
in  the  street,"  the  vir  pietate  gravis  called  in  as  arbitrator  by  both  dispu- 
tants ;  and  the  policeman  was  there  as  a  matter  of  course.  When  I  reached 
the  spot  and  worked  my  way  to  the  inner  circle,  the  debate  had  reached 
this  stage  :  "I  tell  you,  any  well-bred  horse  would  shy  at  a  god-forsaken 
machine  like  that  ;  your  people  had  no  right  to  leave  it  there.  I  will 
make  them  pay  for  this."  Workman— "Well,  them's  my  instructions; 
here's  my  lights  all  a-burning,  and  you  shouldn't  drive  horses  like  that 
in  the  streets  of  London.  They'll  shy  at  anything,  and  it  ain't  safe." 
Masher — "  I  beg  your  pardon,  I  tell  you  any  horse  would  shy  at  that: 
and  what  is  more,  I  believe  traction-engines  are  unlawful  in  the  streets  ;  I 
know  I  have  heard  so."  Clerk — "  Well,  I  can't  quite  say,  but  I  think 
so.  I  know  elephants  are  not  allowed  to  go  through  the  streets  without 
a  special  license  in  the  daytime,  because  our  people  had  a  case  in  which 
a  man  wanted  to  ride  an  elephant  through  the  city  and  distribute  colored 
leaflets,  and  the  Bench  said  that"  .  .  .  Policeman — "Traction-engines 
isn't  elephants  ;  we  don't  want  to  know  about  elephants  ;  which  way  was 
you  coming  when  your  horse  caught  sight  of  this  engine  ?  That  is  what 
I  want  to  get  at."  "  Straight  up  King  Street,  constable,  and  this  fellow 
was  fast  asleep  near  the  machine."  "  No.  I  warn't  fast  asleep  ;  didn't  I 
ketch  'old  of  the  'orse  ?  "  "  Oh,  yes,  you  woke  up,  but  you  never  gave  any 
warning;  why  didn't  you  shout  out.  Beware  of  the  traction-engine?" 
"  What  for?  ain't  you  got  no  eyes?  Am  I  to  be  shouting  all  day?  What 
is  there  worse  about  this  'ere  engine  than  about  a  flappin'  van  ?  Eh  ? 
policeman,  what  is  there  worse,  I  say?"  Policeman  (firmly) — "That's 
not  the  question.  The  question  is.  Was  your  lamp  burning?  "  "  A  course 
they  was  a-burnin'  ;  ain't  they  a-burnin'  now?"  Clerk  (soothingly) — 
"  They  were  burning."  Policeman  (treading  on  clerk's  toes) — "  What  do 
you  want  here?  Be  off.  What  have  you  got  to  do  with  it  ?  Off  with 
you.  Now,  sir,"  turning  to  the  owner  of  the  broken  dog-cart,  "was  this 
man  asleep  on  dooty?"  "Well,  I  cannot  exactly  swear  he  was  asleep, 
but  "  (contriving  to  slip  something  into  the  expectant  hand  of  the  officer), 
"  but  I  am  sure  he  was  not  awake — not  wide  awake."  "  Thank  you, 
sir";  turning  to  the  watchman,  "you  see  where  you  are  now;  I  shall 
report  you  asleep  on  dooty."  "  But  I  warn't  asleep,  I  tell  you."  "  You 
was :  didn't  you  hear  the  gentleman  say  you  wasn't  awake  ?  "  This  was 
the  conclusion  ;  there  was  a  slight  and  sullen  murmur  in  the  crowd  ;  but 
it  died  away.  The  incident  was  at  an  end  ;  law  was  vindicated  ;  justice 
was  done.  Yes,  done,  and  no  mistake  !  But  I  left  without  any  clear  idea 
as  to  the  right  of  an  engine-owner  to  the  use  of  the  common  roads.     The 


story  of  the  elephant  seemed  germane  to  the  issue,  but  it  was  nipped  in 
the  bud.  I  went  home,  swallowed  my  dinner  not  without  appetite,  and 
set  forth  in  search  of  entertainment. 

There  was  a  good  deal  of  choice.  There  always  is  in  London,  except 
on  Sundays  ;  and  even  then  there  is  the  choice  between  the  church,  the 
public-house,  and  the  knocking-shop.  There  were  the  brothers  Goliah, 
and  the  infant  Samuel  on  the  high  rope,  and  Miss  Lottie  Luzone,  the 
teetotautomaton,  and  John  Ball  the  Stentor  Comique,  and  the  Sisters 
Delilah,  and  Signor  Farini  with  his  wonderful  pigeons,  and  the  Tiger- 
tamer  of  Bengal,  and  the  Pearl  family  with  their  unequalled  aquatic  feats, 
and  I  don't  know  what  else.  While  I  was  dwelling  on  the  merits  of  these 
rival  attractions,  I  heard  a  familiar  voice  at  the  door:  "Come  on,  old 
fellow ;  come  to  the  National  Liberal  ;  Stewart  Headlam  is  going  to  open 
a  debate  on  the  County  Council  and  the  IVIusic-halls.  We  will  have  a  high 
old  time.  Come  and  speak."  As  a  rule,  1  fear  the  Trocadero  or  the 
Aquarium  would  have  prevailed  over  the  great  Liberal  Club  as  a  place  of 
after-dinner  entertainment  ;  but  on  this  occasion  I  had  a  newly-aroused 
interest  in  all  such  questions  as  the  one  about  to  be  discussed.  So  I  put 
on  my  hat  and  jumped  into  the  hansom  which  Jack  had  left  at  the  door. 
En  passant,  you  may  have  noticed  that  this  is  the  second  lime  I  have 
recorded  the  fact  that  "  I  put  on  my  hat."  English  novelists  are  very 
careful  about  this  precaution.  "  He  put  on  his  hat  and  walked  out  of  the 
room."  "  He  wished  her  goodbye,  and,  putting  on  his  hat,  he  went  out 
as  he  had  come  in."  There  is  never  a  word  said  about  the  hero's  top-coat 
or  his  gloves,  no  matter  how  cold  the  weather  may  be,  but  the  putting  on 
of  the  hat  is  always  carefully  chronicled.  Now,  there  is  a  reason  for  this. 
It  is  a  well-established  principle  of  English  common  law  that,  whenever 
a  public  disturbance  or  street  mlUe  or  other  shindy  takes  place,  the  repre- 
sentative of  order  shall  single  out  a  suitable  scapegoat  from  among  the 
crowd.  In  case  of  a  mutiny  in  the  Austrian  army,  I  am  told,  it  is  usual 
to  shoot  every  tenth  man  who  is  chosen  by  lot.  But  here  in  merry  Eng- 
land the  instructions  are  to  look  round  for  a  man  without  a  hat.  When 
found,  he  is  marched  off  to  the  police  station  with  the  approval  of  all  con- 
cerned. It  is  part  of  our  unwritten  law.  Some  few  months  since  the 
principle  was  actually  applied  in  a  cause  ce'llbre  by  the  magistrate  himself. 
A  journalist  summoned  no  less  a  personage  than  the  Duke  of  Cambridge 
for  assault.  The  facts  were  not  denied,  and  the  witnesses  were  all  agreed, 
when  succor  came  from  an  unexpected  quarter.  "  Is  it  a  fact,  as  I  have 
seen  it  stated  in  the  papers,"  asked  the  worthy  stipendiary,  "  is  it  a  fact, 
I  ask,  that  the  plaintiff  was  without  a  hat  ? "  There  was  no  gainsaying 
this.  The  prosecutor  was  hatless  at  the  time  of  the  alleged  assault.  That 
settled  the  matter  ;  and  the  Commander-in-chief  of  the  British  Army  left 
the  court  (metaphorically  speaking)  without  a  stain  on  his  character. 

However,  as  I  have  said,  I  put  on  my  hat,  and  off  we  drove  to  the  con- 
ference-room of  the  big  club  with  the  odd  name.  "  National  "  was  first 
used  as  a  political  term  by  the  late  Benjamin  Disraeli  to  signify  the 
patriotic  as  opposed  to  the  cosmopolitan  and  anti-national.  "Liberal" 
was  first  used  in  a  political  sense  about  1815,  to  denote  the  advocates 
of  liberty  as  opposed  to  the  "  serviles  "  who  believed  in  State-control. 
And  yet  the  members  of  the  club  avowedly  uphold  State-interference  in 
all  things,  and  dub  the  doctrine  of  laissez  faire  the  creed  of  selfishness. 
Still  the  building  is  a  fine  and  commodious  one,  and  what's  in  a  name, 
after  all  ? 

When  we  reached  the  political  arena,  Mr.  Headlam,  who  is  a  Socialist, 
was  in  the  middle  of  a  very  able  individualistic  harangue.     Indeed,  1 

g6  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

have  never  heard  the  case  for  moral  liberty  better  stated  and  more 
courageously  advocated  than  on  this  occasion.  I  was  anxious  to  hear 
what  the  censor  party  might  have  to  say.  I  half-expected  to  see  some 
weary  ascetic — perhaps  an  austere  cardinal — rise  in  his  place  and  wade 
through  some  solemn  passages  from  the  sententious  Hooker.  I  was 
agreeably  disappointed  when  a  chirpy  little  Scotchman  with  a,n  amusing 
brogue  and  a  moth-eaten  appearance  started  off  with  prattle  of  this  kind  ; 
"  Gentlemen,  there's  no  one  loves  liberty  more  than  me.  But  we've  got 
to  draw  a  line  at  decency,  you  see.  I've  been  elected  to  sit  on  the 
Council  and  to  see  that  that  line  is  drawn  at  the  right  place.  That  is 
my  duty,  and  my  duty  I  mean  to  do.  Everything  which  is  calculated  to 
bring  a  blush  to  the  cheek  of  a  pure  maiden  must  be  put  down.  And 
there's  another  thing  ;  I  say  that  music-halls  where  intoxicating  liquors 
is  sold  must  be  put  down.  We  are  not  going  to  tolerate  places  what  in- 
cites to  fornication  and  drunkenness.  But  at  the  same  time  we  are  no 
foes  to  liberty, — that  is,  liberty  to  do  right,  and  that's  the  only  liberty 
worth  fighting  for,  depend  upon  it."  Mr.  McDoodle  slapped  his  knee 
with  emphatic  violence  and  sat  down.  "I  should  like  to  ask  the  last 
speaker,"  said  a  thin  gentleman  in  a  back  row,  "whether  it  is  altogether 
consistent  for  a  State  which  has  repealed  every  statute  penalizing  forni- 
cation itself  to  keep  up  a  lot  of  little  worrying  measures  for  the  purpose 
of  penalizing  conduct  which  may  possibly  lead  to  fornication.  In  other 
words,  fornication  is  perfectly  legal,  but  a  song  likely  to  lead  to  forni- 
cation is  illegal.  Is  this  consistent?"  "Allow  me,"  shouted  a  stout 
man  with  a  loud  voice  ;  "  perhaps,  being  a  lawyer,  I  know  more  about 
these  matters  than  Mr.  McDoodle  possibly  can.  The  gentleman  who 
asks  the  question  is  in  error.  His  major  premise  is  false.  Fornication 
in  this  country  is  a  misdemeanor,  by  23  and  24  Vict.  c.  32."  "Pardon 
me,"  replied  the  voice  in  the  back  row,  "  I  also  am  a  lawyer,  and  I  say 
that  the  Act  you  refer  to  does  not  make  fornication  a  misdemeanor  ;  it 
refers  only  to  conspiracy  to  induce  a  woman  to  commit  the  sin  ;  that  is 
a  very  different  matter."  "I  don't  see  that  it  is,"  replied  the  stout  man, 
"  for  what  is  a  conspiracy  but  an  agreement  to  do  wrong?  Very  well, 
then,  an  agreement  between  a  man  and  a  woman  to  do  wrong  is  itself 
a  conspiracy.  And  since  they  cannot  commit  this  sin  without  agree- 
ment (if  they  do,  of  course  it  comes  under  another  head),  it  follows  that 
I  am  right."  "  Not  at  all,"  rejoined  the  lawyer  at  the  back,  "  not  at  all  ; 
I  fear  your  ideas  of  conspiracy  are  a  little  mixed.  If  you  will  consult 
Stephen's  Digest  of  the  Criminal  Law,  which  I  hold  in  my  hand,  you 
will  find  these  words  :  '  provided  that  an  agreement  between  a  man  and 
a  woman  to  commit  fornication  is  not  a  conspiracy.'  I  suppose  Mr. 
Justice  Stephen  may  be  taken  to  know  something  about  the  law."  Chair- 
man (coming  to  the  rescue) — "  I  think,  gentlemen,  we  are  getting  off  the 
lines.  Perhaps  Mr.  Gattie  will  favor  us  with  a  few  words  ?"  "I  con- 
fess, sir,"  responded  that  gentleman,  "  I  confess  I  am  in  a  difficulty. 
Are  we  discussing  whether  indecency  is  wrong  or  not?  Or  is  the  ques- 
tion before  the  meeting  whether  Mr.  McDoodle  and  his  coadjutors  are 
the  proper  persons  to  act  as  ceiisores  morum?  My  own  views  on  these 
three  points  are  these  :  that  indecency,  when  properly  defined,  is  wrong; 
that  Mr.  McDoodle  and  his  friends  are  not  competent  to  define  it,  nor  to 
suggest  means  for  suppressing  it  ;  and,  finally,  that  the  State  had  much 
better  leave  the  settlement  of  the  question  to  public  opinion  and  the  com- 
mon sense  and  common  taste  of  the  people."  A  whirl  of  arguments, 
relevant  and  irrelevant,  followed  his  speech,  which  contained  references 
to  a  pretty  wide  field  of  State-interferences,  showing  their  invariable  and 


inevitable  failure  all  along  the  line.  One  apoplectic  little  man  was  loudly 
demanding  an  answer  to  his  question  "  whether  we  were  going  to  allow 
people  to  run  down  the  street  in  a  state  of  complete  nudity."  That  is 
what  he  wanted  to  know.  Some  one  replied  that  in  this  climate  the 
danger  was  remote,  and  that  the  roughs  would  provide  a  sufficient  de- 
terrent. Some  one  else  wanted  to  know  whether  it  was  decent  to  hawk 
the  Pall  Mall  Gazette  in  the  streets,  and  a  very  earnest  young  man  in- 
quired whether  his  hearers  had  ever  read  the  thirty-sixth  chapter  of 
Genesis,  and  whether,  if  so,  it  was  calculated  to  raise  a  blush  to  the 
cheek  of  virtue.  A  wag  replied:  "There  is  no  cheek  about  virtue^" 
And  so  the  ball  was  kept  rolling.  And  we  left  without  having  formed 
the  faintest  idea  as  to  whether  the  State  should  interfere  with  the  amuse- 
ments of  the  people  or  not  ;  whether  it  should  limit  its  interference  to 
the  enforcement  of  decency  and  propriety  ;  what  those  terms  signify  for 
the  practical  purpose  ;  whether  in  any  case  it  should  delegate  this  duty  to 
Jocal  authorities,  and,  if  so,  to  what  authorities  ;  whether  it  should  itself 
take  the  initiative,  or  leave  it  to  persons  considering  themselves  injured  ; 
whether  such  alleged  injury  should  be  direct  or  indirect,  and,  in  either 
case,  what  those  expressions  mean.  However,  a  good  deal  of  dust  had 
been  kicked  up,  and  even  the  most  cocksure  of  those  who  had  entered 
the  lists  went  out,  I  doubt  not,  with  a  conviction  that  there  was  a  good 
deal  to  be  said  on  all  sides  of  the  question.  That,  in  itself,  was  an  un- 
mixed good. 

Walking  home,  in  the  neighborhood  of  Oxford  Circus,  a  respectable 
young  woman  asked  if  I  would  be  good  enough  to  tell  her  the  nearest 
way  to  Russell  Square.  She  had  hardly  got  the  words  out  of  her  mouth, 
when  a  policeman  emerged  from  a  doorway  and  charged  her  with  solic- 
itation, asking  me  to  accompany  them  to  the  station  and  sign  the 
charge-sheet.  Not  being  a  member  of  the  profession,  of  course  the 
young  woman  had  neglected  to  "  pay  her  footing";  hence  the  official 
zeal.  Old  hands  had  with  impunity  accosted  me  at  least  a  dozen  times 
in  the  same  street.  I  ventured  to  remonstrate,  when  I  was  myself 
charged  with  being  drunk  and  attempting  a  rescue,  and  I  should  cer- 
tainly have  ended  my  day  in  a  State-furnished  apartment,  had  not  an- 
other keeper  of  the  Queen's  peace  come  alongside  and  drawn  away  my 
accuser,  whispering  something  in  his  ear  the  while.  I  recognized  the 
features  of  an  old  acquaintance  with  whom  I  have  an  occasional  glass  at 
the  Bottle  of  Hay  on  my  way  home  from  the  club. 

I  reached  home  at  last,  and  the  events  of  the  day  battled  with  one  an- 
other for  precedence  in  my  dreams.  Freedom,  order  ;  order,  freedom. 
Which  is  it  to  be?  When  I  arose  in  the  morning,  I  tried  to  record  the 
previous  day's  experiences  just  as  they  came  to  me,  without  offering  any 
dogmatic  opinion  as  to  the  rights  and  the  wrongs  of  the  several  cases 
which  arose.  "  I  will  send  them,"  I  said,  "  to  the  orgari  of  philosophic 
Anarchy  in  America,  and,  perhaps,  in  spite  of  their  trivial  character, 
they  may  be  deemed  to  present  points  worthy  of  commeiit. "  What 
a  pity  it  is  that  we  cannot  put  our  London  fogs  in  a  bag  and  send  them 
by  parcel  post  to  Boston  for  careful  analysis  ! 

Wordsworth  Donisthorpe. 
London,  England. 

98  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 


{_Liberty,  January  25,  1890.] 

The  reader  of  Mr.  Donisthorpe's  article  in  this  issue  on 
"  The  Woes  of  an  Anarchist  "  may  rise  from  its  perusal  with 
a  feeling  of  confusion  equal  to  that  manifested  by  the  author, 
but  at  least  he  will  say  to  himself  that  for  genuine  humor  he 
has  seldom  read  anything  that  equals  it.  For  myself  I  have 
read  it  twice  in  manuscript  and  twice  in  proof,  and  still  wish 
that  I  might  prolong  my  life  by  the  laughter  that  four  more 
readings  would  be  sure  to  excite.  Mr.  Donisthorpe  ought  to 
write  a  novel.  But  when  he  asks  Liberty  to  comment  on  his 
woes  and  dissipate  the  fog  he  condenses  around  himself,  I  am 
at  a  loss  to  know  how  to  answer  him.  For  what  is  the  moral 
of  this  article,  in  which  a  day's  events  are  made  to  tell  with 
equal  vigor,  now  against  State  Socialism,  now  against  capital- 
ism, now  against  Anarchism,  and  now  against  Individualism  ? 
Simply  this, — that  in  the  mess  in  which  we  find  ourselves,  and 
perhaps  in  any  state  of  things,  all  social  theories  involve  their 
difficulties  and  disadvantages,  and  that  there  are  some  troubles 
from  which  mankind  can  never  escape.  Well,  the  Anarchists, 
despite  the  fact  that  Henry  George  calls  them  optimists,  are 
pessimistic  enough  to  accept  this  moral  fully.  They  never  have 
claimed  that  liberty  will  bring  perfection  ;  they  simply  say 
that  its  results  are  vastly  preferable  to  those  that  follow  au- 
thority. Under  liberty  Mr.  Donisthorpe  may  have  to  listen  for 
some  minutes  every  day  to  the  barrel-organ  (though  I  really 
think  that  it  will  never  lodge  him  in  the  mad-house),  but  at 
least  he  will  have  the  privilege  of  going  to  the  music-hall  in 
the  evening  ;  whereas,  under  authority,  even  in  its  most  hon- 
est and  consistent  form,  he  will  get  rid  of  the  barrel-organ  only 
at  the  expense  of  being  deprived  of  the  music-hall,  and,  in  its 
less  honest,  less  consistent,  and  more  probable  form,  he  may 
lose  the  music-hall  at  the  same  time  that  the  is  forced  to  en- 
dure the  barrel-organ.  As  a  choice  of  blessings,  liberty  is  the 
greater  ;  as  a  choice  of  evils,  liberty  is  the  smaller.  Then  lib- 
erty always,  say  the  Anarchists.  No  use  of  force,  except 
against  the  invader  ;  and  in  those  cases  where  it  is  difficult  to 
tell  whether  the  alleged  offender  is  an  invader  or  not,  still  no 
use  of  force  except  where  the  necessity  of  immediate  solution 
is  so  imperative  that  we  must  use  it  to  save  ourselves.  And 
in  these  few  cases  where  we  must  use  it,  let  us  do  so  frankly 
and  squarely,  acknowledging  it  as  a  matter  of  necessity,  without 


seeking  to  harmonize  our  action  with  any  political  ideal  or  con- 
structing any  far-fetched  theory  of  a  State  or  collectivity  hav- 
ing prerogatives  and  rights  superior  to  those  of  individuals  and 
aggregations  of  individuals  and  exempted  from  the  operation 
of  the  ethical  principles  which  individuals  are  expected  to 
observe.  But  to  say  all  this  to  Mr.  Donisthorpe  is  like  carry- 
ing coals  to  Newcastle,  despite  his  catalogue  of  doubts  and 
woes.  He  knows  as  well  as  I  do  that  "  liberty  is  not  the 
daughter,  but  the  mother  of  order." 


[Liberty^  May  24,  1890.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

Hooks-and-eyes  are  very  useful.  Hooks  are  useless  ;  eyes  are  use- 
less. Yet  in  combination  they  are  useful.  This  is  co-operation.  Where 
you  have  division  of  labor  and  consequent  differentiation  of  function 
and,  eventually,  of  structure,  there  is  co-operation.  Certain  tribes  of 
ants  have  working  members  and  fighting  members.  The  military  caste 
are  unable  to  collect  food,  which  is  provided  for  them  by  the  other  mem- 
bers of  the  community,  in  return  for  which  they  devote  themselves  to  the 
defence  of  the  whole  society.  But  for  these  soldiers  the  society  would 
perish.  If  either  class  perished,  the  other  class  would  perish  with  it.  It 
is  the  old  fable  of  the  belly  and  the  limbs. 

Division  of  labor  does  not  always  result  in  differentiation  of  structure. 
In  the  case  of  bees  and  many  other  insects  we  know  that  it  does. 
Among  mammals  we  have  the  well-marked  structural  division  into  males 
and  females,  but  beyond  this  the  tendency  to  fix  structural  changes  is 
very  slight.  In  races  where  caste  prevails,  the  tendency  is  more  marked. 
Even  in  England,  where  caste  is  extinct,  it  has  been  observed  among  the 
mining  population  of  Northufnbria.  And  the  notorious  short-sightedness 
of  Germans  has  been  set  down  to  compulsory  book-study. 

As  a  general  rule,  we  may  neglect  this  effect  of  co-operation  among 
human  beings.  The  fact  remains  that  the  organized  effort  of  100  indi- 
viduals is  a  very  great  deal  more  effective  than  the  sum  of  the  efforts  of 
100  unorganized  individuals.  Co-operation  is  an  unmixed  good.  And  the 
Ishmaelitic  anarchy  of  the  bumble-bee  is  uneconomic.  Hostility  to  the 
principle  of  co-operation  (upon  which  society  is  founded)  is  usually  at- 
tributed by  the  ignorant  to  philosophical  Anarchists.  While  Socialists 
never  weary  of  pointing  to  the  glorious  triumphs  of  co-operation,  and 
claiming  them  for  Socialism.  Wherever  a  number  of  persons  join  hands 
with  the  object  of  effecting  a  purpose  otherwise  unattainable,  we  have 
what  is  tantamount  to  a  new  force, — the  force,  of  combination:  and 
the  persons  so  combining  and  regarded  as  a  single  body  may  be  called 
by  a  narrie, — any  name  ;  a  Union,  an  Association,  a  Society,  a  Club,  a 
Company,  a  Corporation,  a  State.  I  do  not  say  all  these  terms  denote 
precisely  the  same  thing,  but  they  all  connote  co-operation.     I  prefer  to 


use  the  word  Club  to  denote  all  such  associations  of  men  for  a  common 

Let  the  State  be  now  abolished  for  the  purposes  of  this  discussion. 
How  do  we  stand  ?  We  have  by  no  means  abolished  all  the  clubs  and 
companies  in  which  citizens  find  themselves  grouped  and  interbanded. 
There  they  all  are,  just  as  before.  Let  us  examine  some  of  them.  Stay  ; 
there  are  a  number  of  new  ones,  suddenly  sprung  up  out  of  the  debris 
of,  the  old  State. 

Here  are  some  eighty  men  organized  in  the  form  of  a  cricket-club. 
They  may  not  pitch  the  ball  as  they  like,  but  only  in  accordance  with 
rigid  laws.  They  elect  a  king  or  captain,  and  they  bind  themselves  to 
obey  him  in  the  field.  A  member  is  told  off  to  field  at  long-on,  although 
he  may  wish  to  field  at  point.     He  must  obey  the  despot. 

Here  is  a  ring  of  horsemen.  They  ride  races.  They  back  their  own 
horses.  Disputes  arise  about  fouling,  or  perhaps  the  course  is  a  curve 
and  some  rider  takes  a  short  cut.  Or  the  weights  of  the  riders  are  un- 
equal, and  the  heavier  rider  claims  to  equalize  the  weights.  All  such 
matters  are  laid  before  a  committee,  and  rules  are  drawn  up  by  which  all 
the  members  of  the  little  racing  club  pledge  themselves  to  be  bound. 
The  club  grows  :  other  riding  or  racing  men  join  it  or  adopt  its  rules. 
At  last  so  good  are  its  laws  that  they  are  adopted  by  all  the  racing  frater- 
nity in  the  island,  and  all  racing  disputes  are  settled  by  the  rules  of  the 
Jockey  Club.  And  even  the  judges  of  the  land  defer  to  them,  and  refer 
points  of  racing  law  to  the  Club. 

Here  again  is  a  knot  of  whalers  chatting  on  the  beach  of  a  stormy  sea. 
Each  trembles  for  the  safety  of  his  own  vessel.  He  would  give  some- 
thing to  be  rid  of  his  uneasiness.  All  his  eggs  are  in  one  basket.  He 
would  willingly  distribute  them  over  many  baskets.  He  offers  to  take 
long  odds  that  his  own  vessel  is  lost.  He  repeats  the  offer  till  the  long 
odds  cover  the  value  of  his  ship  and  cargo,  and  perhaps  profits  and 
time.  "  Now,"  says  he,  "  I  am  comfortable.  It  is  true,  I  forfeit  a  small 
percentage  ;  but  if  my  whole  craft  goes  to  the  bottom,  I  lose  nothing." 
He  laughs  and  sings  while  the  others  go  croaking  about  the  sands,  shak- 
ing their  heads  and  looking  fearfully  at  the  breakers.  At  last  they  all 
follow  his  example,  and  the  net  result  is  a  Mutual  Marine  Insurance  So- 
ciety. After  a  while  they  lay  the  odds,  not  with  their  own  members 
only,  but  with  others  ;  and  the  risk  being  over-estimated  (naturally  at 
first),  they  make  large  dividends.  But  now  difficulties  arise.  The  cap- 
tain of  a  whaler  has  thrown  cargo  overboard  in  a  heavy  sea.  The  owner 
claims  for  the  loss.  The  company  declines  to  pay,  on  the  ground  that 
the  loss  was  voluntarily  caused  by  the  captain  and  not  by  the  hand  of 
God  or  the  king's  enemies  ;  and  that  there  would  be  no  limit  to  jettison, 
if  the  claim  were  allowed.  Other  members  meet  with  similar  difficulties, 
and  finally  Rules  are  made  which  provide  for  all  known  contingencies. 
And  when  any  dispute  arises,  the  chosen  Umpire,  whetherjitbe  a  mutual 
friend,  or  an  agora-full  of  citizens,  or  a  department  of  State,  or  any  other 
person  or  body  of  persons,  refers  to  the  common  practice  and  precedents 
so  far  as  they  apply.  In  other  words,  the  Rules  of  the  Insurance  Soci- 
ety are  the  law  of  the  land.  In  spite  of  the  State,  this  is  so  to-day  to  a 
considerable  extent  :  I  may  say,  in  all  matters  which  have  not  been 
botched  and  cobbled  by  statute. 

There  is  another  class  of  club  springing  out  of  the  altruistic  sentiment. 
An  old  lady  takes  compassion  on  a  starving  cat  (no  uncommon  sight  in 
the  West  End  of  London  after  the  Season).  She  puts  a  saucer  of  milk 
pnd  some  liver  on  the  doorstep.     She  is  soon  recognized  as  a  beti^f^gtresg 


and  the  cats  for  a  mile  round  swarra  to  her  household.  The  saucers  in- 
crease and  multiply,  and  the  liver  is  an  item  in  her  butcher's  bill.  The 
strain  is  too  great  to  be  borne  single-handed.  She  issues  a  circular  appeal, 
and  she  is  surprised  to  find  how  many  are  willing  to  contribute  a  fair  share, 
although  their  sympathy  shrivels  up  before  an  unfair  demand.  They  are 
willing  to  be  taxed  pro  rata,  but  they  will  not  bear  the  burden  of  other 
people's  stinginess.  "  Let  the  poor  cats  bear  it  rather,"  say  they.  "  What 
is  everybody's  business  is  nobody's  business.  It  is  very  sad,  but  it  can- 
not be  helped.  If  we  keep  one  cat,  hundreds  will  starve  ;  so  what's  the 
use  ?  "  But  when  once  the  club  is  started,  nobody  feels  the  burden  ;  the 
Cats'  Home  is  built  and  endowed,  and  all  goes  well.  Hospitals,  infirma- 
ries, alms-houses,  orphanages,  spring  up  all  round.  At  first  they  are 
reckless  and  indiscriminate,  and  become  the  prey  of  impostors  and  able- 
bodied  vagrants.  Then  Rules  are  framed  ;  the  Charity  Organization  So- 
ciety co-ordinates  and  directs  public  benevolence.  And  those  rules  of 
prudence  and  economy  are  copied  and  adopted  in  many  respects  by  those 
who  administer  the  State  Poor  Law. 

Then  we  have  associations  of  persons  who  agree  on  important  points  of 
science  or  politics.  They  wish  to  make  others  think  with  them,  in  order 
that  society  may  be  pleasanter  and  more  congenial  for  themselves.  They 
would  button-hole  every  man  in  the  street  and  argue  the  question  out 
with  him  ;  but  the  process  is  too  lengthy  and  wearisome.  They  club  to- 
gether and  form  such  institutions  as  the  British  and  Foreign  Bible  Society, 
which  has  spent  seven  million  pounds  in  disseminating  untruths  all  over 
the  world.  We  have  the  Cobden  Club,  which  is  slowly  and  sadly  dying 
of  inconsistency  after  a  career  of  merited  success.  We  have  scientific  so- 
cieties of  all  descriptions  that  never  ask  or  expect  a  penny  reward  for  all 
their  outlay,  beyond  making  other  people  wiser  and  pleasanter  neighbors. 

Finally,  we  have  societies  banded  together  to  do  battle  against  rivals  on 
the  principle  of  "Union  is  strength."  These  clubs  are  defensive  or  ag- 
gressive. The  latter  class  includes  all  trading  associations,  the  object  of 
which  is  to  make  profits  by  out-manoeuvring  competitors.  The  former 
or  defensive  class  includes  all  the  political  societies  formed  for  the  pur- 
pose of  resistinjg  the  State, — the  most  aggressive  club  in  existence.  Over 
one  hundred  of  these  "  protection  societies  "  of  one  sort  and  another  are 
now  federated  under  the  hegemony  of  the  Liberty  and  Property  Defence 

Now  we  have  agreed  that  the  Stat3  is  to  be  abolished.  What  is  the  re- 
sult ?  Here  are  Watch  Committees  formed  in  the  great  towns  to  prevent 
and  to  insure  against  burglars,  thieves,  and  like  marauders.  How  they 
are  to  be  constituted  I  do  not  clearly  know  ;  neither  do  I  know  the  limits 
of  their  functions.  Here  again  is  a  Mutual  Inquest  Society  to  provide 
for  the  examination  of  dead  persons  before  burial  or  cremation,  in  order 
to  make  murder  as  unprofitable  a  business  as  possible.  Here  is  a  Vigi- 
lance Association  sending  out  detectives  for  the  purpose  of  discovering  and 
lynching  the  unsocial  wretches  who  knowingly  travel  in  public  convey- 
ances with  infectious  diseases  on  them.  Here  is  a  journal  supported 
by  consumers  for  the  advertisement  of  adulterating  dealers.  And  here 
again  is  a  Filibustering  Company  got  up  by  adventurous  traders  of  the 
old  East  India  Company  stamp  for  the  purpose  of  carrying  trade  into  for- 
eign countries  with  or  without  the  consent  of  the  invaded  parties.  Here 
is  a  Statistical  Society  devising  Rules  to  make  it  unpleasant  for  those  who 
evade  registration  and  the  census,  and  offering  inducement  to  all  who  fur- 
nish the  required  information.  What  sort  of  organization  (if  any)  will  be 
formed  for  the  enforcement  (not  necessarily  by   brute-force)  of  contract? 

I02  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

Or  will  there  be  many  such  organizations  dealing  with  different  classes  of 
contract  ?  Will  there  be  a  Woman's  League  to  boycott  any  man  who  has 
abused  the  confidence  of  a  woman  and  violated  his  pledges?  How  will  it 
try  and  sanction  cases  of  breach  of  promise  ? 

Above  all,  how  is  this  powerful  Company  for  the  defence  of  the  country 
against  foreign  invaders  to  be  constituted  ?  And  what  safeguards  will  its 
members  provide  against  the  tyranny  of  the  officials  ?  When  a  Senator 
proposed  to  limit  the  standing  army  of  the  United  States  to  three  thou- 
sand, George  Washington  agreed,  on  condition  that  the  honorable  member 
would  arrange  that  the  country  should  never  be  invaded  by  more  than  two 
thousand.  Frankenstein  created  a  Monster  he  could  not  lay.  This  will 
be  a  nut  for  Anarchists  of  the  future  to  crack. 

And  now,  to  revert  to  the  Vigilance  Society  formed  for  lynching  per- 
sons who  travel  about  in  public  places  with  small-pox  and  scarletina,  what 
rules  will  they  make  for  their  own  guidance  ?  Suppose  they  dub  every 
unvaccinated  person  a  "focus  of  infection,"  shall  we  witness  the  establish- 
ment of  an  Anti- Vigilance  Society  to  punch  the  heads  of  the  detectives 
who  punch  the  heads  of  the  "  foci  of  infection"?  Remember,  we  have 
both  these  societies  in  full  working  order  to-day.  One  is  called  the  State, 
and  the  other  is  the  Anti- Vaccination  Society. 

The  questions  which  I  should  wish  to  ask,  and  which  I  should  wish  Mr. 
Herbert  Spencer,  Mr.  Auberon  Herbert,  Mr.  Benjamin  Tucker,  and  Mr. 
Victor  Yarros  to  answer,  are  chiefly  these  two  : 

1.  How  far  may  voluntary  co-operators  invade  the  liberty  of  others? 
And  what  is  to  prevent  such  invasion  under  a  system  of  Anarchy? 

2.  Is  compulsory  co-operation  ever  desirable  ?  And  what  form  (if  any) 
should  such  compulsion  take  ? 

The  existing  State  is  obviously  only  a  conglomeration  of  several  large 
societies  which  would  exist  separately  or  collectively  in  its  absence  ;  if  the 
State  were  abolished,  these  associations  would  necessarily  spring  up  out  of 
its  ruins,  just  as  the  nations  of  Europe  sprang  out  of  the  ruins  of  the  Ro- 
man Empire.  They  would  apparently  lack  the  power  of  compulsion.  No 
one  would  be  compelled  to  join  against  his  will.  Take  the  ordinary  case 
of  a  gas-lit  street.  Would  a  voluntary  gas-comimittee  be  willing  to  light  the 
street  without  somehow  taxing  all  the  dwellers  in  the  street  ?  If  yes,  then 
there  is  inequity.  The  generous  and  public-spirited  pay  for  the  stingy  and 
mean.  But  if  no,  then  how  is  the  taxing  to  be  accomplished  ?  And  where 
is  the  line  to  he  drawn  ?  If  you  compel  A  to  pay  for  lighting  the  street 
when  he  swears  he  prefers  it  dark  (a  householder  may  really  prefer  a  dark 
street  to  a  light  one,  if  he  goes  to  bed  at  sunset  and  wants  the  traffic  to  be 
diverted  into  other  streets  to  insure  his  peace)  ;  then  you  will  compel  him 
to  subscribe  to  the  Watch  fund,  though  his  house  is  burglar-proof  ;  and  to 
the  fire  brigade,  though  his  house  is  fire-proof  ;  and  to  the  prisons  as  part 
of  the  plant  and  tools  of  the  Watch  Committee  ;  and,  it  may  logically  be 
urged,  to  the  churches  and  schools  as  part  also  of  such  plant  and  tools 
for  the  prevention  of  certain  crimes. 

Moreover,  if  you  compel  him  to  subscribe  for  the  gas  in  the  street,  you 
must  make  him  pay  his  share  of  the  street  itself  (paving,  repairing,  and 
cleansing) ;  and  if  the  street,  then  the  highway  ;  and  if  the  highway,  then 
the  railway,  and  the  canal,  and  the  bridges,  and  even  the  harbors  and  light- 
houses and  other  common  apparatus  of  transport  and  locomotion. 

Personally,  as  an  individualist,  I  would  not  compel  a  citizen  to  subscribe 
to  common  benefits,  even  though  he  necessarily  shares  them.  But  what  I 
want  the  four  lights  of  Anarchy  above-named  to  tell  me  is  :  How  are  we 
to  remove  the  injustice  of  ^llowingj  one  man  to  ?njoy  what  another  ha? 


earned?  My  questions  are  quite  distinct.  Thus  an  army  under  the  system 
of  conscription  is  a  case  of  compulsory  co-operation  :  a  band  of  brigands 
is  a  case  of  voluntary  co-operation.  I  hate  both.  I  would  join  a  volun- 
tary association  directed  against  either  or  both.  Neither  do  I  put  these 
questions  in  order  to  cast  doubts  on  the  feasibility  of  Anarchy  at  the  pres- 
ent time.  I  ask  merely  for  information  from  those  wrho  are,  in  my  opin- 
ion, best  able  to  give  it. 

Wordsworth  Donisthorpe, 
London,  England, 


\Liberty,  May  24,  1890.] 

It  is  questionable  whether  Herbert  Spencer  will  relish  Mr. 
Donisthorpe's  classification  of  him  as  one  of  four  lights  of 
Anarchy.  I  think  he  would  be  justified  in  putting  in  a  dis- 
claimer. No  doubt  Anarcliy  is  immeasurably  indebted  to  Mr. 
Spencer  for  a  phenomenally  clear  exposition  of  its  bottom 
truths.  But  he  entertains  heresies  on  the  very  questions 
which  Mr.  Donisthorpe  raises  that  debar  him  from  recogni- 
tion as  an  Anarchist.  His  belief  in  compulsory  taxation  and 
his  acceptance  of  the  majority  principle,  not  as  a  temporary 
necessity,  but  as  permanently  warranted  within  a  certain 
sphere,  show  him  to  be  unfaithful  to  his  principle  of  equal 
liberty,  as  Mr.  Donisthorpe  has  convincingly  demonstrated  in 
his  recent  book  on  "  Individualism."  I  am  sure  that  his 
answers  to  Mr.  Donisthorpe's  questions  would  widely  differ 
from  any  that  Mr.  Yarros  or  myself  could  possibly  make. 

When  it  comes  to  Auberon  Herbert,  the  community  of 
thought  is  closer,  as  on  practical  issues  he  is  pretty  nearly  at 
one  with  the  attitude  of  Liberty.  But  I  fancy  that  Mr.  Donis- 
thorpe would  have  difficulty  in  driving  all  three  of  us  into  the 
same  corner.  Before  he  had  gone  far,  the  ethical  question  of 
the  nature  of  right  would  arise,  and  straightway  Mr.  Yarros 
and  myself  would  be  arrayed  with  Mr.  Donisthorpe  against 
Mr.  Herbert. 

As  one  of  the  two  remaining  "  lights  of  Anarchy  "  appealed 
to,  I  will  try  to  deal  briefly  with  Mr.  Donisthorpe's  questions. 
To  his  first  :  "  How  far  may  voluntary  co-operators  invade 
the  liberty  of  others  ?  "  I  answer  :  Not  at  all.  Under  this 
head  I  have  previously  made  answer  to  Mr.  Donisthorpe,  and 
as  to  the  adequacy  or  inadequacy  of  this  answer  he  has  as  yet 
made  no  sign.     For  this  reason  I  repeat  my  words.     "  Then 

I04  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

liberty  always,  say  the  Anarchists.  No  use  of  force,  except 
against  the  invader  ;  and  in  those  cases  where  it  is  difficult  to 
tell  whether  the  alleged  offender  is  an  invader  or  not,  still  no 
use  of  force  except  where  the  necessity  of  immediate  solution 
is  so  imperative  that  we  must  use  it  to  save  ourselves.  And 
in  these  few  cases  where  we  must  use  it,  let  us  do  so  frankly 
and  squarely,  acknowledging  it  as  a  matter  of  necessity,  with- 
out seeking  to  harmonize  our  action  with  any  political  ideal 
or  constructing  any  far-fetched  theory  of  a  State  or  collectivity 
having  prerogatives  and  rights  superior  to  those  of  individuals 
and  aggregations  of  individuals  and  exempted  from  the  opera- 
tion of  the  ethical  principles  which  individuals  are  expected 
to  observe."  This  is  the  best  rule  that  I  can  frame  as  a  guide 
to  voluntary  co-operators.  To  apply  it  to  only  one  of  Mr. 
Donisthorpe's  cases,  I  think  that  under  a  system  of  Anarchy, 
even  if  it  were  admitted  that  there  was  some  ground  for 
considering  an  unvaccinated  person  an  invader,  it  would  be 
generally  recognized  that  such  invasion  was  not  of  a  char- 
acter to  require  treatment  by  force,  and  that  any  attempt  to 
treat  it  by  force  would  be  regarded  as  itself  an  invasion  of 
a  less  doubtful  and  more  immediate  nature,  requiring  as  such 
to  be  resisted. 

But  under  a  system  of  Anarchy  how  is  such  resistance  to 
be  made  ?  is  Mr.  Donisthorpe's  second  question.  By  another 
band  of  voluntary  co-operators.  But  are  we  then,  Mr.  Donis- 
thorpe  will  ask,  to  have  innumerable  bands  of  voluntary  co- 
operators  perpetually  at  war  with  each  other  ?  Not  at  all.  A 
system  of  Anarchy  in  actual  operation  implies  a  previous 
education  of  the  people  in  the  principles  of  Anarchy,  and  that 
in  turn  implies  such  a  distrust  and  hatred  of  interference  that 
the  only  band  of  voluntary  co-operators  which  could  gain  sup- 
port sufficient  to  enforce  its  will  would  be  that  which  either 
entirely  refrained  from  interference  or  reduced  it  to  a  mini- 
mum. This  would  be  my  answer  to  Mr.  Donisthorpe,  were  I 
to  admit  his  assumption  of  a  state  of  Anarchy  supervening 
upon  a  sudden  collapse  of  Archy.  But  I  really  scout  this  as- 
sumption as  absurd.  Anarchists  work  for  the  abolition  of  the 
State,  but  by  this  they  mean  not  its  overthrow,  but,  as  Prou- 
dhon  put  it,  its  dissolution  in  the  economic  organism.  This 
being  the  case,  the  question  before  us  is  not,  as  Mr.  Donis- 
thorpe supposes,  what  measures  and  means  of  interference  we 
are  justified  in  instituting,  but  which  ones  of  those  already 
existing  we  should  first  lop  off.  And  to  this  the  Anarchists 
answer  that  unquestionably  the  first  to  go  should  be  those 

th^t  interfere  niost  fuR^fii'n^nt^P}'  ^ith  a,  fr^^  mwket,  and 


that  the  economic  and  moral  changes  that  would  result  from 
this  would  act  as  a  solvent  upon  all  the  remaining  forms  of 

"  Is  compulsory  co-operation  ever  desirable  ?  "  Compulsory 
co-operation  is  simply  one  form  of  invading  the  liberty  of 
others,  and  voluntary  co-operators  will  not  be  justified  in  re- 
sorting to  it — that  is;  in  becoming  compulsory  co-operators — 
any  more  than  resorting  to  any  other  form  of  invasion. 

"  How  are  we  to  remove  the  injustice  of  allowing  one  man 
to  enjoy  what  another  has  earned  ? "  I  do  not  expect  it  ever 
to  be  removed  altogether.  But  I  believe  that  for  every  dollar 
that  would  be  enjoyed  by  tax-dodgers  under  Anarchy,  a  thou- 
sand dollars  are  now  enjoyed  by  men  who  have  got  possession 
of  the  earnings  of  others  through  special  industrial,  com- 
mercial, and  financial  privileges  granted  them  by  authority  in 
violation  of  a  free  market. 

In  regard  to  the  various  clubs  referred  to  by  Mr.  Donis- 
thorpe  as  based  on  an  intolerance  that  is  full  of  the  spirit  of 
interference,  I  can  only  say  that  probably  they  will  cease  to 
pattern  after  their  great  exemplar,  the  State,  when  the  State 
shall  no  longer  exist,  and  that  meantime,  if  intolerant  bigots 
choose  to  make  petty  tyranny  a  condition  of  association  with 
them,  we  believers  in  liberty  have  the  privilege  of  avoiding 
their  society.  Doesn't  Mr.  Donisthorpe  suppose  that  we  can 
stand  it  as  long  as  they  can  ? 


{^Liberty.,  February  26,  1887.] 
Dear  Tucker : 

Since  the  occasion  wiien  you  so  arbitrarily  side-tracked  me  in  the  edi- 
torial columns  of  Liberty,*  certain  notions  of  self-respect  in  connection 
with  your  attitude  towards  me  have  bid  me  pause  whenever  I  attempted 

*  The  writer  of  this  letter,  Mr.  Henry  Appleton,  was  one  of  Liberty's 
original  editorial  contributors,  and  remained  such  for  five  years.  At  ths 
end  of  that  time  he  publicly  took  a  position  not  in  harmony  with  that  of 
the  paper,  on  a  point  of  great  importance,  and  it  became  necessary  that 
his  editorial  contributions  should  cease.  At  the  same  time  he  was  cor- 
dially invited  to  freely  make  use  of  the  other  departments  of  the  paper 
for  the  expression  of  his  views.  He  never  availed  himself  of  this  invita- 
tion further  than  to  write  the  above  letter,  which,  with  the  editor's  reply, 
is  included  in  this  volume  because,  in  spite  of  the  personal  nature  of  the 

contrgversy,  important  questions  of  principle  are  also  dealt  with, 

Io6  INSTEAD   OF    A   BOOK. 

to  state  my  present  position,  and  wherein  I  feel  that  I  have  outgrown  the 
partial  methods  by  which  you  seek  to  deal  with  existing  social  maladjust- 
ments. I  did  send  a  communication  to  the  Truth  Seeker,  but  Macdonald, 
though  he  had  just  published  your  communication,  chose  to  even  out-do 
your  side-tracking  method  of  discipline  by  dumping  me  out  of  his  col- 
umns altogether.  But,  lest  I  should  be  suspected  of  sneaking  out  of  the 
ranks  through  cowardice,  policy,  or  some  other  unworthy  consideration, 
I  will  waive  my  own  personality  in  behalf  of  right  thinking,  and  state 
my  case  as  fully  as  space  and  the  magnitude  of  the  subject  will  permit. 

Every  subject  dealing  with  radical  reform  has  two  main  terms, — viz., 
its  basic  philosophic  statement  and  its  resultant  protest.  The  basic 
statement,  or  affirmation,  of  our  propaganda  is  the  Sovereignty  of  the  In- 
dividual, around  which  the  whole  science  of  Individualism  is  built, — con- 
ditioned by  liberty  and  the  cost  principle,  (i)  Its  protest  is  aimed  at  arbi- 
trary force  which  ignores  individual  consent,  and  the  label  which  you 
borrowed  from  Proudhon  by  which  to  designate  it  is  "Anarchism." 

Fully  at  one  with  Josiah  Warren's  grand  affirmation,  I  was  as  fully  at 
one  with  the  righteousness  of  your  protest,  and,  paying  little  regard  as 
to  whether  you  grabbed  the  beast  of  authority  by  the  head  or  the  tail, 
pulled  off  my  coat  and  went  in  with  you  to  haul  him  out  of  his  hole. 
Whether  this  business  was  called  Anarchy  or  not  was  to  me,  for  the  time 
being,  of  little  account,  being  sure  that  it  was  righteous  and  telling 

But  few  numbers  of  Liberty\i&&  appeared,  when  the  esteemed  personal 
friends  whom  I  had  induced  to  subscribe  for  it  all  had  me  by  the  collar 
with  this  one  question  :  "  Well,  allowing  that  your  protest  is  all  right, 
what  have  you  to  substitute  for  the  existing  order?" 

"Why,"  I  replied,  "the  order  contemplated  grows  out  of  the  science 
of  Individualism,  the  corner-stone  of  which  is  our  basic  philosophic  affir- 

"  Oh,  yes,  I  see,"  replied  a  Judge  of  the  United  States  Circuit  Court ; 
"then  you  and  Tucker  belong  to  an  order  of  social  scientists  who  put 
their  protest  ahead  of  their  affirmation,  and  thus  propose  to  move  society 
tail-end-to.  Where  is  your  constructive  side  ?  Give  us  that,  and  the  pro- 
test, which  is  simply  its  logical  deduction,  will  take  care  of  itself." 

I  replied  to  him  and  others  that  the  paper  was  small  and  new,  but  that 
the  constructive  end  would  certainly  be  held  up  on  a  level  with  the  pro- 
testing. So  I  set  to  work,  and  for  a  long  time  was  bent  upon  making 
every  article  of  mine  bear  upon  our  philosophy.  I  think  a  review  of  the 
first  volume  of  Liberty  will  show  that  nearly  every  article  explaining  its 
philosophy  and  method  was  from  my  pen.  (2) 

But  the  temptation  to  fight  and  kick  and  scratch  and  bite,  instead  of 
educate  and  construct,  was  constantly  after  me.  Many  a  resolve  did  I 
make  to  leave  the  fighting  department  to  you,  and  attend  strictly  to  the 
educational,  but,  alas  !  proved  too  weak,  till  finally  a  well-developed 
habit  of  personal  sparring,  countering,  dropping  to  avoid  punishment, 
etc.,  resulted  in  something  akin  to  outright  "slugging,"  when  the  pro- 
prietor of  the  ring  put  me  outside  the  ropes,  while  Sister  Kelly  flung  after 
me  the  taunt  of  compromise,  and  Brother  Lloyd  cried  out  :  Is  this  a  free 
fight  ?  (3) 

Now,  friend  Tucker,  these  not  very  enviable  experiences  were  the  re- 
sult of  one  fatal  mistake  in  the  beginning  of  your  work, — and  one  which 
a  truly  scientific  propagandist  should  never  fall  victim  to.  It  is  that  you 
projected  your  propaganda  from  the  protest  rather  than  from  the  basic 
affirmation  of  Liberty.     The  affirmation  is  primarv.  the  protest  is  second- 

TMe  individual,  society,  and  the  stAtE.         io^r 

ary.  Though  the  protest  logically  leads  back  to  the  affirmation,  the 
process  is  always  the  unnatural  one  of  walking  backwards.  If  you  develop 
your  propaganda  logically  from  step  to  step,  as  projected  from  your  affir- 
mation, the  protests  go  along  with  it  and  are  always  fortified  in  the 
accompanying  philosophical  base  of  supplies.  Meanwhile  education  and 
construction  are  the  natural  work  in  hand.  But  if  you  start  out  by  de- 
ploying recklessly  ahead  with  your  protest,  the  process  of  walking  back- 
wards to  your  base  of  supplies  is  so  unnatural,  and  the  temptation  to 
fight  instead  of  construct  so  great,  that  you  soon  fight  yourself  so  far 
away  from  your  supplies  that  the  objector  naturally  cries  out  on  every 
side  :  "Well,  what  have  you  behind  you,  whither  would  you  lead  us,  and 
what  shall  protect  us  when  you  get  there  ? "  You  must  therefore  take 
every  individual  recruit  back  to  your  philosophical  commissary  depart- 
ment, where  you  do  not  take  it  with  you.  (4) 

As  to  the  term  Anarchism,  I  have  grown  to  be  convinced  that  it  is 
partial,  vague,  misleading,  and  not  a  comprehensive  scientific  comple- 
ment of  Individualism.  If  it  means  a  protest  against  the  existing  polit- 
ical State,  then  I  am,  of  course,  an  Anarchist.  You  say  that  it  means 
more,  and  includes  a  protest  against  every  invasion  of  individual  right. 
But  this  is  merely  a  convenient  assumption,  not  warranted  by  its  ety- 
mology, which  is  purely  of  political  origin.  Proudhon,  from  whom  you 
borrowed  it,  used  it  only  when  speaking  of  political  application  of  gov- 
ernment. Most,  Parsons,  and  Seymour  base  their  protest  against  the 
existing  political  State  on  Communism,  their  model  of  social  order. 
You  base  yours  on  voluntary  co-operation  of  individual  sovereigns, — your 
model.  Now,  if  Anarchism  is  merely  a  protest  against  the  existing  State, 
then,  as  friend  Morse  truly  says,  you  have  no  more  right  to  say  that  they 
are  not  Anarchists  than  they  have  to  say  that  you  are  not  one.  If  you 
are  all  Anarchists,  and  become  such  from  principles  in  direct  antagonism 
to  each  other,  then  who  is  an  Anarchist  and  who  is  not,  and  what  relia- 
bility attaches  to  it  as  a  scientific  protest  ?  (5) 

Moreover,  every  man  has  the  right  to  be  understood.  If  you  stretch 
the  scope  of  Anarchy  beyond  the  political  sphere,  then  it  plainly  comes 
to  mean  without  guiding  principle, — the  very  opposite  of  what  Individual- 
ism logically  leads  to.  Anarchy  means  opposed  to  the  archos,  or  politi- 
cal leader,  because  the  motive  principle  of  politics  is  force.  If  you  take 
the  arckos  out  of  politics,  he  becomes  the  very  thing  you  want  as  an  Indi- 
vidualist, since  he  is  a  leader  by  voluntary  selection.  It  will  not  do,  then, 
to  stretch  the  scope  of  Anarchism  beyond  political  government,  else  you 
defeat  your  own  purpose.  It  must,  therefore,  stay  within  the  boundaries 
of  politics,  and,  staying  there,  is  only  a  partial  and  quite  unscientific  term 
to  cover  the  whole  protest  which  complements  Individualism.  (6) 

When  I  am  asked  if  I  am  an  Anarchist,  the  person  who  asks  it  wants  to 
know  if  I  am  the  kind  of  person  he  thinks  I  am,— one  believing  in  no 
guiding  principle  of  social  administration.  In  duty  to  myself  I  am  obliged 
to  say  no.  This  is  the  eternal  mischief  which  follows  from  defining  one's 
self  through  his  protest,  rather  than  his  affirmation.  It  is  a  position  which 
everyone  owes  to  himself  to  keep  out  of,  where  the  protest  is  deduced 
from  a  philosophical  system.  All  the  Protestant  sects  define  themselves 
by  their  affirmations  and  not  by  their  protests,  and  so  should  all  scientific 
systems  of  sociology.  The  protest  is  none  the  less  strong — yea,  far 
stronger — when  carried  along  as  a  complement  to  the  principles  which 
create  it,  rather  than  as  a  main  term, — the  creature  usurping  the  domain 
of  its  creator.  (7) 

As  an  Individualist,  I  find  the  political  State  a  consequent  rather  than 

10§  INSTEAD    OF   A   BOOK. 

an  antecedent.  By  making  your  protest  your  main  term,  the  State  must 
be  made  antecedent,  which  it  is  not.  If  you  thinlc  the  State  the  efficient 
cause  of  tyranny  over  individuals,  I  take  it  you  are  beclouded  in  a  most 
radical  delusion,  into  which  I  coiald  easily  turn  a  flood  of  light,  had  1  not 
already  encroached  -too  much  on  your  space.  The  State  is  a  variable 
quantity, — expanding  just  in  proportion  as  previous  surrenders  of  individ- 
ual sovereignty  give  it  material.  The  initial  cause  is,  however,  the  sur- 
rendering individual,  the  State  being  only  possible  after  the  surrender. 
Hence  the  individual  is  the  proper  objective  point  of  reform.  As  he  is  re- 
formed, the  State  disappears  of  itself.  (8) 

This  subject  is  so  rich  in  thought  that  I  could  fill  the  whole  edition  of 
Liberty,  and  then  not  have  said  half  that  is  still  pertinent  to  what  I  have 
begun.  Having  already  spent  too  much  of  my  life  in  fighting  and  trying 
to  pull  things  around  by  the  tail  rather  than  by  the  head  and  heart,  I  pro- 
pose to  spend  the  remainder  of  it  in  constructive  educational  work.  Fight- 
ing with  tongue  and  pen  is  simply  a  process  of  spiritual  killing,  differing 
from  other  killing  only  in  method.  While  there  is  so  much  pressing  con- 
structive work  to  be  done,  I  prefer  to  leave  the  fighting  line  of  propaganda 
to  those  whose  temperament  and  constitution  make  them  better  fighters 
than  builders.  So  go  on  kicking  up  the  Anarchistic  dust  at  the  tail  end  of 
the  beast  of  despotism,  but  pardon  me  if,  having  been  a  reform  tail-twister 
all  my  life,  I  am  trying  to  get  a  little  nearer  the  head  and  horns  of  the 
beast  and  finish  up  ray  work  on  that  end. 

Unnatural  government  inevitably  follows  unnatural  conditions,  and  mere 
scolding  and  kicking  and  protesting  to  all  eternity  will  never  change  this 
stern  law  of  nature  by  v/hich  she  secures  self-preservation.  That  diseased 
form  of  social  administration  known  as  the  State  belongs  in  nature  to  that 
diseased  condition  known  as  centralization,  in  place  of  localization.  New 
York  and  other  cities,  the  places  where  the  State  chiefly  draws  its  material 
for  rent,  usury,  and  individual  slavery  in  general,  are  ulcers  on  the  face  of 
this  planet.  Localize  their  populations  over  the  soil,  with  individuals 
not  only  claiming,  but  utilizing,  their  right  to  the  soil  and  other  means  of 
sovereignty,  and  nineteen-twentieths  of  the  State  in  this  country  would 
cease  to  be.  Yet  thousands  of  miserable  servile  wretches  in  New  York 
will  go  to  labor  meetings  and  shout,  "  The  land  belongs  to  the  people  !" 
while  they  cannot  be  coaxed  or  whipped  out  of  this  stinking  nest  of  usury 
and  political  corruption,  though  you  should  offer  them  plenty  of  good 
land  for  nothing.  In  fact,  large  tracts  across  the  river  in  New  Jersey  can 
be  had  for  next  to  nothing,  the  young  men  of  those  sections  preferring  to 
let  their  fathers'  homes  and  lands  rot  and  run  to  waste  in  order  to  crowd 
into  New  York  with  the  rest  of  the  vulgar  herd,  with  future  visions  of  du- 
plicated Jay  Goulds  in  mind.  I  say  that,  until  we  can  get  more  manly  and 
sober  incentive  into  individuals,  the  New  Yorks  and  Chicagos  will  press 
and  stink  themselves  into  such  intolerable  political  corruption  and  general 
demoralization  that  the  merciful  torch  alone  can  rid  humanity  of  them. 
To  cry  Anarchy  in  such  communities  is  futile,  unless  you  cry  it  in  its  worst 
sense,  and  that  is  already  .well-nigh  realized. 

Yet,  friend  Tucker,  you  have  always  treated  with  contempt  my  proposal 
to  warn  individuals  to  get  out  of  these  cities  and  colonize  on  the  soil,  un- 
der conditions  that  alone  make  voluntary  government  possible.  You  say 
great  cities  are  blessings,  and  that  the  proper  thing  for  these  low-motived, 
noisy  wretches  who  cry  in  labor  meetings,  "The  land  for  the  people  !  "  is 
to  stay  right  here  and  fight  it  out.  You  seem  possessed  with  the  unfortu- 
nate delusion  that  natural  government  is  possible  in  this  crowded  hole, 
where  even  the  rich  sleep  in  brown-stone  stalls,  and  the  surroundings  of 

tHft   INDIVIDUAL,    SOCIETY,    AND    THE   STATE.  169 

great  masses  of  the  people  are  more  than  beastly.  So  long  as  industry, 
commerce,  and  domicile  are  centralized,  the  necessary  conditions  of  indi- 
vidual sovereignty  are  physically  impossible,  while  usury  is  invited,  and 
the  patched-up  fraud  which  goes  by  the  name  of  government  becomes  the 
necessary  arrangement  for  holding  the  diseased  conditions  together,  pend- 
ing the  inevitable  day  when  fire  and  dynamite  will  come  to  remove  these 
social  ulcers,  in  order  that  the  general  body  social  may  survive.  I  sincerely 
hope  you  will  look  into  these  matters  more  seriously,  and  insist  on  lo- 
calization, the  social  expression  of  Individualism,  (g) 

The  name  Liberty,  so  artistically  inscribed  on  your  editorial  shingle,  ex- 
presses neither  the  affirmation  nor  the  protest  of  our  system,  but  is  simply 
an  auxiliary  term  between  them.  I  think  it  unfortunate  that  your  paper 
was  not  named  "The  Individualist,"  and  I  have  in  mind  a  name  even 
nearer  the  centre  than  that.  Had  our  propaganda  been  started  on  the  cen- 
tre from  the  first,  we  should  probably  have  been  far  along  in  the  construc- 
tive educational  work,  rather  than  come  to  whipping  about  in  the  tangle- 
brush  of  misunderstanding.  But  it  is  probably  all  for  the  best,  and,  what- 
ever may  be  the  mistakes  of  its  pioneers,  the  new  structure  is  bound  by 
and  by  to  take  definite  shape  and  avert  the  social  suicide  which  the  exist- 
ing order  is  so  rapidly  precipitating.  (10) 

Henry  Appleton. 

The  foregoing  article  has  been  in  my  hands  some  time,  the 
pressure  on  these  columns  having  compelled  its  postponement. 
To  this  delay  of  several  weeks  in  publication,  however,  I  am 
the  more  easily  reconciled  by  the  fact  that  its  writer  had 
himself  affected  its  timeliness,  nearly  as  much  as  was  possible, 
by  a  delay  of  several  months  in  its  preparation.  The  "  arbi- 
trary side-tracking  "  of  which  he  complains,  and  out  of  which 
it  grows,  occurred  last  August,  and,  if  his  defensive  protest 
seems  at  all  stale  in  February,  it  should  be  remembered  that 
it  would  not  have  charmed  by  its  freshness  in  January.  But 
principles  never  grow  old,  and,  looked  at  in  their  light,  Mr. 
Appleton's  words  are  as  wise  or  as  foolish  to-day  as  they  ever 
were  or  ever  will  be. 

Speaking  exactly,  all  voluntary  acts  are  arbitrary,  inasmuch 
as  they  are  performed  in  the  exercise  of  will,  and  in  that  sense 
of  course  the  "  side-tracking  "  of  Mr.  Appleton  was  an  ar- 
bitrary act.  But  in  no  objectionable  sense  was  it  arbitrary,  in 
no  sense  was  it  despotic.  Mr.  Appleton  having  announced 
that  the  principal  object  for  which  he  and  I  had  so  long  edi- 
torially co-operated  had  become  to  him  a  secondary  and  com- 
paratively trivial  object,  it  should  have  been  evident  to  him, 
as  it  was  to  me  and  to  nearly  everybody  else,  that  our  co-oper- 
ation in  future  could  not  be  what  it  had  been.  After  such  a 
declaration,  my  act  became  a  matter  of  course.  Instead  of 
being  despotic,  it  was  almost  perfunctory.  He  took  the  side 
track  himself  ;  I  but  officially  registered  his  course. 

I  appreciate  the  spirit  of  condescension  and  self-abasement 

tid  INSTEAD   OF   A   BOOK. 

which  has  finally  permitted  Mr.  Appleton  to  continue  con- 
troversy with  so  unworthy  an  antagonist  as  myself  and  to 
place  himself  on  a  level  with  that  inferior  race  of  beings  who 
write  for  Liberty  non-editorially,  and  in  this  obliteration  of 
self  I  feebly  emulate  him  by  consenting  to  let  him  fill  these 
columns  with  his  defence  or  explanation  after  he  had  ignored 
the  invitation  which  I  had  extended  him  to  do  so  long  enough 
to  ascertain  that  he  could  not  procure  its  publication  else- 

After  these  preliminaries,  I  may  proceed  to  consider  Mr. 
Appleton's  arguments,  numbering  the  points  as  I  deal  with 
them,  to  avoid  the  necessity  of  repeating  the  statements 

(i)  I  do  not  admit  anything,  except  the  existence  of  the 
individual,  as  a  condition  of  his  sovereignty.  To  say  that  the 
sovereignty  of  the  individual  is  conditioned  by  Liberty  is 
simply  another  way  of  saying  that  it  is  conditioned  by  itself. 
To  condition  it  by  the  cost  principle  is  equivalent  to  institut- 
ing the  cost  principle  by  authority, — an  attempted  fusion  of 
Anarchism  with  State  Socialism  which  I  have  always  under- 
stood Mr.  Appleton  to  rebel  against. 

(2)  To  bear  out  this  statement  Mr.  Appleton  would  have 
to  prove  himself  the  author  of  nearly  every  article  that  ap- 
peared in  the  first  volume  of  Liberty,  whereas,  as  a  general 
thing,  he  wrote  but  one  article  for  each  number.  Nine  tenths 
of  the  editorial  matter  printed  in  Liberty  has  been  written  to 
explain  its  philosophy  and  method.  It  is  true  that  Mr.  Apple- 
ton  has  used  the  words  philosophy  and  method  oftener  than 
any  other  writer,  but  mere  repetition  of  the  words  is  neither 
philosophical  nor  rationally  methodical.  I  am  far  from  saying 
here  that  Mr.  Appleton's  articles  were  not  philosophical  ;  I 
am  only  insisting  that  their  philosophical  character  was  not 
due  to  the  use  of  the  word  philosophy,  and  that  others  which 
used  the  word  less  frequently  or  not  at  all  were  quite  as  phil- 
osophical as  his. 

(3)  Whatever  fighting  Mr.  Appleton  has  done  in  Liberty,  he 
has  done  of  his  own  motion.  It  has  always  been  his  privilege 
to  use  these  columns  as  freely  as  he  chose  (within  certain 
limits  of  space)  for  "  constructive  educational  work  "  on  the 
basis  of  individual  sovereignty.  He  has  written  as  he  pleased 
on  what  subjects  he  pleased,  with  seldom  even  a  suggestion 
from  me.  In  any  conflict  with  me  he  has  always  been  the 
attacking  party. 

(4)  It  is  true  that  the  affirmation  of  individual  sovereignty 
is  logically  precedent  to  protest  against  authority  as  such.    But 

THE    INDlVlDtAt,    SOCIETV,    A^iJ    THE    STATE.  til 

in  practice  they  are  inseparable.  To  protest  against  the  in- 
vasion of  individual  sovereignty  is  necessarily  to  affirm  indi- 
vidual sovereignty.  The  Anarchist  always  carries  his  base  of 
supplies  with  him.  He  cannot  fight  away  from  it.  The 
moment  he  does  so  he  becomes  an  Archist.  This  protest 
contains  all  the  affirmation  that  there  is.  As  I  have  pointed 
out  to  Comrade  Lloyd,  Anarchy  has  no  side  that  is  affirma- 
tive in  the  sense  of  constructive.  Neither  as  Anarchists 
nor — what  is  practically  the  same  thing — as  individual  sov- 
ereigns have  we  any  constructive  work  to  do,  though  as  pro- 
gressive beings  we  have  plenty  of  it.  But,  if  we  had  perfect 
liberty,  we  might,  if  we  chose,  remain  utterly  inactive  and  still 
be  individual  sovereigns.  Mr.  Appleton's  unenviable  exper- 
iences are  due  to  no  mistake  of  mine,  but  to  his  own»folly  in 
acknowledging  the  pertinence  of  the  hackneyed  cry  for  con- 
struction, which  loses  none  of  its  nonsense  on  the  lips  of 
a  Circuit  Court  Judge. 

(5)  I  have  asked  friend  Morse  whether  he  ever  made  the 
statement  here  attributed  to  him,  and  he  says  that  he  never 
did.  But  I  scarcely  needed  to  ask  him.  He  and  I  have  not 
kept  intellectual  company  these  fifteen  years  to  the  end  that 
he  should  so  misunderstand  me.  He  knows  perfectly  well 
that  I  base  my  assertion  that  the  Chicago  Communists  are  not 
Anarchists  entirely  on  the  ground  that  Anarchism  means 
a  protest  against  every  form  of  invasion.  (Whether  this 
definition  is  etymologically  correct  I  will  show  in  the  next 
paragraph.)  Those  who  protest  against  the  existing  political 
State,  with  emphasis  on  the  existing,  are  not  Anarchists,  but 
Archists.  In  objecting  to  a  special  form  or  method  of  in- 
vasion, they  tacitly  acknowledge  the  rightfulness  of  some 
other  form  or  method  of  invasion.  Proudhon  never  fought 
any  particular  State  ;  he  fought  the  institution  itself,  as 
necessarily  negative  of  individual  sovereignty,  whatever  form 
it  may  take.  His  use  of  the  word  Anarchism  shows  that  he 
considered  it  coextensive  with  individual  sovereignty.  If  his 
applications  of  it  were  directed  against  political  government, 
it  was  because  he  considered  political  government  the  only 
invader  of  individual  sovereignty  worth  talking  about,  having 
no  knowledge  of  Mr.  Appleton's  "  comprehensive  philosophy," 
which  thinks  it  takes  cognizance  of  a  "  vast  mountain  of  gov- 
ernment outside  of  the  organized  State."  The  reason  why 
Most  and  Parsons  are  not  Anarchists,  while  I  am  one,  is  be- 
cause their  Communism  is  another  State,  while  my  voluntary 
co-operation  is  not  a  State  at  all.  It  is  a  very  easy  matter  to 
tell  who  is  an  Anarchist  and  who  is  not.     One  question  will 

1 12  INSTEAD    OF    A    KOOii. 

always  readily  decide  it.  Do  you  believe  in  any  form  of  im- 
position upon  the  human  will  by  force  ?  If  you  do,  you  are 
not  an  Anarchist.  If  you  do  not,  you  are  an  Anarchist.  What 
can  any  one  ask  more  reliable,  more  scientific,  than  this  ? 

(6)  Anarchy  does  not  mean  simply  opposed  to  the  archos, 
or  political  leader.  It  means  opposed  to  arche.  Now,  arche, 
in  the  first  instance,  means  beginning,  origin.  From  this  it 
comes  to  mean  a  first  principle,  an  eletnent ;  then  first  place, 
supreme  power,  sovereignty,  dominion,  command,  authority ;  and 
finally  a  sovereignty,  an  empire,  a  realm,  a  magistracy,  a  govern- 
mental office.  Etymologically,  then,  the  word  anarchy  may 
have  several  meanings,  among  them,  as  Mr.  Appleton  says, 
without  guiding  principle,  and  to  this  use  of  the  word  I  have 
never  objected,  always  striving,  on  the  contrary,  to  interpret 
in  accordance  with  their  definition  the  thought  of  those  who 
so  use  it.  But  the  word  Anarchy  as  a  philosophical  term  and 
the  word  Anarchist  as  the  name  of  a  philosophical  sect  were 
first  appropriated  in  the  sense  of  opposition  to  dominion,  to 
authority,  and  are  so  held  by  right  of  occupancy,  which  fact 
makes  any  other  philosophical  use  of  them  improper  and  con- 
fusing. Therefore,  as  Mr.  Appleton  does  not  make  the  polit- 
ical sphere  coextensive  with  dominion  or  authority,  he  cannot 
claim  that  Anarchy,  when  extended  beyond  the  political  sphere, 
necessarily  comes  to  mean  without  guiding  principle,  for  it  may 
mean,  and  by  appropriation  does  mean,  without  dominion,  with- 
out authority.  Consequently  it  is  a  term  which  completely  and 
scientifically  covers  the  individualistic  protest. 

(7)  The  misunderstandings  of  which  Mr.  Appleton  has  been 
a  victim  are  not  the  result  of  his  defining  himself  through  his 
protest,  for  he  would  not  have  avoided  them  had  he  defined 
himself  through  his  affirmation  and  called  himself  an  Individ- 
ualist. I  could  scarcely  name  a  word  that  has  been  more 
abused,  misunderstood,  and  misinterpreted  than  Individualism. 
Mr.  Appleton  makes  so  palpable  a  point  against  himself  in  in- 
stancing the  Protestant  sects  that  it  is  really  laughable  to  see 
him  try  to  use  it  against  me.  However  it  may  be  with  the 
Protestant  sects,  the  one  great  Protestant  body  itself  was  born 
of  protest,  suckled  by  protest,  named  after  protest,  and  lived 
on  protest  until  the  days  of  its  usefulness  were  over.  If  such 
instances  proved  anything,  plenty  of  them  might  be  cited 
against  Mr.  Appleton.  For  example,  taking  one  of  more  re- 
cent date,  I  might  pertinently  inquire  which  contributed  most 
to  the  freedom  of  the  negro, — those  who  defined  themselves 
through  their  affirmations  as  the  Liberty  Party  or  as  Coloniza- 
tionists,  or  those  who  defined  themselves  through  their  protests 


as  the  Anti-Slavery  Society  or  as  Abolitionists.  Unquestion- 
ably the  latter.  And  when  human  slavery  in  all  its  forms 
shall  have  disappeared,  I  fancy  that  the  credit  of  the  victory 
will  be  given  quite  as  exclusively  to  the  Anarchists,  and  that 
these  latter-day  Colonizationistp,  of  whom  Mr.  Appleton  has 
suddenly  become  so  enamored,  will  be  held  as  innocent  of  its 
overthrow  as  are  their  predecessors  and  namesakes  of  the  over- 
throw of  chattel  slavery. 

(8)  It  is  to  be  regretted  that  Mr.  Appleton  took  up  so  much 
space  with  other  matters  that  he  could  not  turn  his  "  flood  of 
light  "  into  my  "  delusion  "  that  the  State  is  the  efficient  cause 
of  tyranny  over  individuals  ;  for  the  question  whether  this  is 
a  delusion  or  not  is  the  very  heart  of  the  issue  between  us. 
He  has  asserted  that  there  is  a  vast  mountain  of  government 
outside  of  the  organized  State,  and  that  our  chief  battle  is 
with  that ;  I,  on  the  contrary,  have  maintained  that  practically 
almost  all  the  authority  against  which  we  have  to  contend  is 
exercised  by  the  State,  and  that,  when  we  have  abolished  the 
State,  the  struggle  for  individual  sovereignty  will  be  well-nigh 
over.  I  have  shown  that  Mr.  Appleton,  to  maintain  his  posi- 
tion, must  point  out  this  vast  mountain  of  government  and  tell 
us  definitely  what  it  is  and  how  it  acts,  and  this  is  what  the 
readers  of  Liberty  have  been  waiting  to  see  him  do.  But  he 
no  more  does  it  in  his  last  article  than  in  his  first.  And  his 
only  attempt  to  dispute  my  statement  that  the  State  is  the 
efficient  cause  of  tyranny  over  individuals  is  confined  to  two  or 
three  sentences  which  culminate  in  the  conclusion  that  the 
initial  ca.n%e:  is  the  surrendering  individual.  I  have  never  de- 
nied it,  and  am  charmed  by  the  air  of  innocence  with  which 
this  substitution  of  initial  for  efficient  is  effected.  Of  initial 
causes  finite  intelligence  knows  nothing  ;  it  can  only  know 
causes  as  more  or  less  remote.  But  using  the  word  initial  in 
the  sense  of  remoter,  I  am  willing  to  admit,  for  the  sake  of 
the  argument  (though  it  is  not  a  settled  matter),  that  the 
initial  cause  was  the  surrendering  individual.  Mr.  Appleton 
doubtless  means  voluntarily  surrendering  individual,  for  com- 
pulsory surrender  would  imply  the  prior  existence  of  a  power 
to  exact  it,  or  a  primitive  form  of  State.  But  the  State,  hav- 
ing come  into  existence  through  such  voluntary  surrender, 
becomes  a  positive,  strong,  growing,  encroaching  institution, 
which  expands,  not  by  further  voluntary  surrenders,  but  by 
exacting  surrenders  from  its  individual  subjects,  and  which 
contracts  only  as  they  successfully  rebel.  That,  at  any  rate,  is 
what  it  is  to-day,  and  hence  it  is  the  efficient  cause  of  tyranny. 
The  only  sense,  then,  in  which  it  is  true  that  "  the  individual 

114  INSTEAD   Ol?   A   BOOK. 

is  the  proper  objective  point  of  reform  "  is  this, — that  he  must 
be  penetrated  with  the  Anarchistic  idea  and  taught  to  rebel. 
But  this  is  not  what  Mr.  Appleton  means.  If  it  were,  his 
criticism  would  not  be  pertinent,  for  I  have  never  advocated 
any  other  method  of  abolishing  the  State.  The  logic  of  his 
position  compels  another  interpretation  of  his  words, — namely, 
that  the  State  cannot  disappear  until  the  individual  is  per- 
fected. In  saying  which,  Mr.  Appleton  joins  hands  with 
those  wise  persons  v/ho  admit  that  Anarchy  will  be  practi- 
cable when  the  millennium  arrives.  It  is  an  utter  abandon- 
ment of  Anarchistic  Socialism.  No  doubt  it  is  true  that,  if 
the  individual  could  perfect  himself  while  the  barriers  to  his 
perfection  are  standing,  the  State  would  afterwards  disappear. 
Perhaps,  too,  he  could  go  to  heaven,  if  he  could  lift  himself 
b}'  his  boot-straps. 

(9)  If  one  must  favor  colonization,  or  localization,  as  Mr. 
Appleton  calls  it,  as  a  result  of  looking  "  seriously  "  into  these 

'matters,  then  he  must  have  been  trifling  with  them  for  a  long 
time.  He  has  combatted  colonization  in  these  columns  more 
vigorously  than  ever  I  did  or  can,  and  not  until  comparatively 
lately  did  he  write  anything  seeming  to  favor  it.  Even  then  he 
declared  that  he  was  not  given  over  to  the  idea,  and  seemed 
only  to  be  making  a  tentative  venture  into  a  region  which  he 
had  not  before  explored.  If  he  has  since  become  a  settler,  it 
only  indicates  to  my  mind  that  he  has  not  yet  fathomed  the 
real  cause  of  the  people's  wretchedness.  That  cause  is  State 
interference  with  natural  economic  processes.  The  people  are 
poor  and  robbed  and  enslaved,  not  because  "  industry,  com- 
merce, and  domicile  are  centralized,"- — in  fact,  such  centrali- 
zation has,  on  the  whole,  greatly  benefited  them, — but  because 
the  control  of  the  conditions  under  which  industry,  commerce, 
and  domicile  are  exercised  and  enjoyed  is  centralized.  The 
localization  needed  is  not  the  localization  of  persons  in  space, 
but  of  powers  in  persons, — that  is,  the  restriction  of  power  to 
self  and  the  abolition  of  power  over  others.  Government 
makes  itself  felt  alike  in  country  and  in  city,  capital  has  its 
usurious  grip  on  the  farm  as  surely  as  on  the  workshop,  and 
the  oppressions  and  exactions  of  neither  _  government  nor 
capital  can  be  avoided  by  migration.  L'Etat,  c'est  I'ennemi. 
The  State  is  the  enemy,  and  the  best  means  of  fighting  it  can 
only  be  found  in  communities  already  existing.  If  there 
were  no  other  reason  for  opposing  colonization,  this  in  itself 
would  be  sufficient. 

(10)  I  do  not  know  what  Mr.  Appleton  means  when  he  calls 
Liberty  an  auxiliary  term  between  the  afifirmation  and  the 


protest  of  our  system,  and  I  doubt  if  he  knows  himself. 
That  it  expresses  practically  the  same  idea  as  "  The  Individu- 
alist" and  is  a  much  better  name  for  a  paper  I  think  most 
persons  will  agree.  If,  "  had  our  propaganda  been  started  on 
the  centre  from  the  first,  we  should  probably  have  been  far 
along  in  constructive  educational  work,"  and  if,  assuming,  that 
we  are  not  far  along  in  it,  it  is  "  probably  all  for  the  best," 
then  it  is  probably  all  for  the  best  that  our  propaganda  was 
not  started  on  the  centre,  assuming  that  it  was  not  so  started  ; 
and  in  that  case  what  is  all  this  fuss  about  ?  Optimists  should 
never  complain. 


\_Liberty^  January  i,  1887.! 

"  There  is  nothing  any  better  than  Liberty  and  nothing  any 
worse  than  despotism,  be  it  the  theological  despotism  of  the 
skies,  the  theocratic  despotism  of  kings,  or  the  democratic 
despotism  of  majorities  ;  and  the  labor  reformer  who  starts 
out  to  combat  the  despotism  of  capital  with  other  despotism 
no  better  lacks  only  power  to  be  worse  than  the  foe  he  en- 
counters." These  are  the  words  of  my  brother  Pinney  of 
the  Winsted  Press,  Protectionist  and  Greenbacker, — that  is, 
a  man  who  combats  the  despotism  of  capital  with  that  despot- 
ism which  denies  the  liberty  to  buy  foreign  goods  untaxed 
and  that  despotism  which  denies  the  liberty  to  issue  notes  to 
circulate  as  currency.  Mr.  Pinney  is  driven  into  this  incon- 
sistency by  his  desire  for  high  wages  and  an  abundance  of 
money,  which  he  thinks  it  impossible  to  get  except  through 
tariff  monopoly  and  money  monopoly.  But  religious  despot- 
tism  pleads  a  desire  for  salvation,  and  moral  despotism  pleads 
a  desire  for  purity,  and  prohibitory  despotism  pleads  a  desire 
for  sobriety.  Yet  all  these  despotisms  lead  to  hell,  though  all 
these  hells  are  paved  with  good  intentions  ;  and  Mr.  Pinney's 
hells  are  just  as  hot  as  any.  The  above  extract  shows  that 
he  knows  Liberty  to  be  the  true  way  of  salvation.  Why, 
then,  does  he  not  steadily  follow  it  ? 

Il6  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 


{Lii>eriy,  January  22,  1887,] 

Mr.  Pinney,  editor  of  an  exceedingly  bright  paper,  the  Win- 
sted  Fress,  recently  combated  prohibition  in  the  name  of 
Liberty.  Thereupon  I  showed  him  that  his  argument  was 
equally  good  against  his  own  advocacy  of  a  tariff  on  imports 
and  an  exclusive  government  currency.  Carefully  avoiding 
any  allusion  to  the  analogy,  Mr.  Pinney  now  rejoins  :  "  In 
brief,  we  are  despotic  because  we  believe  it  is  our  right  to  de- 
fend ourselves  from  foreign  invaders  on  the  one  side  and 
wild-cat  swindlers  on  the  other."  Yes,  just  as  despotic  as  the 
prohibitionists  who  believe  it  is  their  right  to  defend  themselves 
from  drunkards  and  rumsellers.  In  another  column  of  the 
same  issue  of  the  Fress  I  find  a  reference  to  a  "  logical  Pro- 
crustean bed  "  kept  in  Liberty's  office  to  which  I  fit  my  friends 
and  foes  by  stretching  out  and  lopping  off  their  limbs.  It  is  a 
subject  on  which  the  dismembered  Mr.  Pinney  speaks  feel- 


{^Li&erty,  February  12,  1887,] 

Continuing  his  controversy  with  me  regarding  the  logic  of 
the  principle  of  liberty,  Mr.  Pinney  of  the  Winsted  Fress  says  : 

There  is  no  analogy  between  prohibition  and  the  tariff  ;  the  tariff  pro- 
hibits no  man  from  indulging  his  desire  to  trade  where  he  pleases.  It  is 
simply  a  tax.  It  is  slightly  analogous  to  a  license  tax  for  the  privilege  of 
selling  liquor  in  a  given  territory,  but  prohibition,  in  theory  if  not  in  prac- 
tice, is  an  entirely  different  matter. 

This  is  a  distinction  without  a  difference.  The  so-called 
prohibitory  liquor  law  prohibits  no  man,  even  theoretically, 
from  indulging  his  desire  to  sell  liquor  ;  it  simply  subjects  the 
man  so  indulging  to  fine  and  imprisonment.  The  tax  imposed 
by  the  tariff  law  and  the  fine  imposed  by  the  prohibitory  law 
share  alike  the  nature  of  a  penalty,  and  are  equally  invasive  of 
liberty.  Mr.  Pinney's  argument,  though  of  no  real  validity  in 
any  case,  would  present  at  least  a  show  of  reason  in  the  mouth 

of  a  "revenue  r^fprmer";  but,  coming  froni  one  who  scorns 


the  idea  of  raising  revenue  by  the  tariff  and  who  has  declared 
explicitly  that  he  desires  the  tariff  to  be  so  effectively  prohib- 
itory that  it  shall  yield  no  revenue  at  all,  it  lacks  even  the 
appearance  of  logic. 

Equally  lame  is  Mr.  Finney's  apology  for  a  compulsory 
money  system. 

As  for  the  exclusive  government  currency  which  we  advocate,  and 
which  Mr.  Tucker  tortures  into  prohibition  of  individual  property  scrip, 
there  is  just  as  much  analogy  as  there  is  between  prohibition  and  the 
exclusive  law-making,  treaty-making,  war-declaring,  or  any  other  powers 
delegated  to  government  because  government  better  than  the  individual 
can  be  intrusted  with  and  make  use  of  these  powers. 

Just  as  much,  I  agree  ;  and  in  this  I  can  see  a  good  reason 
why  Mr.  Pinney,  who  started  out  with  the  proposition  that 
"  there  is  nothing  any  better  than  liberty  and  nothing  any 
worse  than  despotism,"  should  oppose  law-making,  treaty- 
making,  war-declaring,  etc.,  but  none  whatever  why  he  should 
favor  an  exclusive  government  currency.  How  much  "  tor- 
ture "  it  requires  to  extract  the  idea  of  "  prohibition  of  indi- 
vidual property  scrip"  from  the  idea  of  an  ^''exclusive  govern- 
ment currency"  our  readers  will  need  no  help  in  deciding,  unless 
the  word  "  exclusive "  has  acquired  some  new  meaning  as 
unknown  to  them  as  it  is  to  me. 

But  Mr.  Pinney's  brilliant  ideas  are  not  exhausted  yet.  He 
continues  : 

Government  prohibits  the  taking  of  private  property  for  public  uses 
without  just  compensation.  Therefore,  if  we  fit  Mr.  Tucker's  Procrus- 
tean bed,  we  cannot  sustain  this  form  of  prohibition  and  consistently  op- 
pose prohibition  of  liquor  drinking  !  This  is  consistency  run  mad,  "  anal- 
ogy "  reduced  to  an  absurdity.  We  are  astonished  that  Mr.  Tucker  can 
be  guilty  of  it. 

So  am  I.  Or  rather,  I  should  be  astonished  if  I  had  been 
guilty  of  it.  But  I  haven't.  To  say  nothing  of  the  fact  that 
the  governmental  prohibition  here  spoken  of  is  a  prohibibion 
laid  by  government  upon  itself,  and  that  such  prohibitions  can 
never  be  displeasing  to  an  Anarchist,  it  is  clear  that  the  taking 
of  private  property  from  persons  who  have  violated  the  rights 
of  nobody  is  invasion,  and  to  the  prohibition  of  invasion  no 
friend  of  liberty  has  any  objection.  Mr.  Pinney  has  already 
resorted  to  the  plea  of  invasion  as  an  excuse  for  his  advocacy 
of  a  tariff,  and  it  would  be  a  good  defence  if  he  could  estab- 
lish it.  But  I  have  pointed  out  to  him  that  the  pretence  that 
the  foreign  merchant  who  sells  goods  to  American  citizens  or 
the. individual  who  offers  his  I  Q  U  are  invaders  is  as  flimsy 

Il8  ,        INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

as  the  prohibitionist's  pretence  that  the  rumseller  and  the 
drunkard  are  invaders.  Neither  invasion  nor  evasion  will  re- 
lieve Mr.  Pinney  of  his  dilemma.  If  he  has  no  more  effective 
weapons,  what[he  dubs  "  Boston  analogy  "  is  in  no  danger  from 
his  assaults,  , 


\Liherty,  March  12,  1887.] 

It  is  the  habit  of  the  wild  Westerner,  whenever  he  cannot 
answer  a  Bostonian's  arguments,  to  string  long  words  into  long 
sentences  in  mockery  of  certain  fancied  peculiarities  of  the 
Boston  mind.  Editor  Pinney  of  the  Winsted  Press  is  not 
exactly  a  wild  Westerner,  but  he  lives  just  far  enough  beyond 
the  confines  of  Massachusetts  to  enable  him  to  resort  to  this 
device  in  order  to  obscure  the  otherwise  obvious  necessity  of 
meeting  me  on  reason'  s  ground.  His  last  reply  to  me  fruit- 
lessly fills  two-thirds  of  one  of  his  long  columns  with  the 
sort  of  buncombe  referred  to,  whereas  that  amount  of  space, 
duly  applied  to  solid  argument,  might  have  sufficed  to  show 
one  of  us  in  error.  Whatever  the  characteristics  of  Boston 
intellect,  generically  speaking,  in  the  particular  Bostonian  with 
whom  he  is  now  confronted  Mr.  Pinney  would  see,  were  he  a 
student  of  human  nature,  an  extremely  hard-headed  individual, 
about  whose  mind  there  is  nothing  celestial  or  supermundane 
or  aesthetic  or  aberrant,  and  whose  only  dialectics  consists  in 
searching  faithfully  for  the  fundamental  weakness  of  his  ad- 
versary's position  and  striking  at  it  with  swift  precision,  or 
else,  finding  none  such,  in  acknowledging  defeat.  But  human 
nature — at  least,  Boston-  human  nature— being  a  puzzle  to  Mr. 
Pinney,  he  mistakes  me  for  a  quibbler,  a  disputatious  advocate, 
and  a  lover  of  logomachy.  Let  us  see,  then,  by  whom  lo- 
gomachy was  first  employed  in  this  discussion. 

In  an  unguarded  moment  of  righteous  impatience  with  the 
folly  of  the  prohibitionists  Mr.  Pinney  had  given  utterance 
to  some  very  extreme  and  Anarchistic  doctrine.  I  applauded 
him,  and  ventured  to  call  his  attention  to  one  or  two  forms  of 
prohibition  other  than  that  of  the  liquor  traffic,  equally  repug- 
nant to  his  theory  of  liberty  and  yet  championed  by  him. 
One  of  these  was  the  tariff.  He  answered  me  that  "  there  is 
no  analogy  between  prohibition  and  the  tariff ;  the  tariff  oro- 


hibits  no  man  from  indulging  his  desire  to  trade  where  he 
pleases."  '  Right  here  logomachy  made  its  first  appearance, 
over  the  word  "  prohibit."  I  had  cited  two  forms  of  State  in- 
terference with  trade,  each  of  which  in  practice  either  annoys 
it  or  hampers  it  or  effectively  prevents  it,  according  to  circum- 
stances. This  analogy  in  substantial  results  presented  a  diffi- 
culty, which  Mr.  Pinney  tried  to  overcome  by  beginning  a  dis- 
pute over  the  meaning  of  the  word  "prohibit," — a  matter  of 
only  formal  moment  so  far  as  the  present  discussion  is  con- 
cerned. He  declared  that  the  tariff  is  not  like  the  prohibitory 
liquor  law,  inasmuch  as  it  prohibits  nobody  from  trading 
where  he  pleases.  A  purely  nominal  distinction,  if  even  that; 
consequently  Mr.  Pinney,  in  passing  it  off  as  a  real  one,  was 
guilty  of  quibbling. 

But  I  met  Mr.  Pinney  on  his  own  ground,  allowing  that, 
speaking  exactly,  the  tariff  does  not  prohibit,  but  adding,  on 
the  other  hand,  that  neither  does  the  so-called  prohibitory 
liquor  law  ;  that  both  simply  impose  penalties  on  traders,  in 
the  one  case  as  a  condition,  in  the  other  as  a  consequence,  of 
carrying  on  their  trades.  Hence  my  analogy  still  stood,  and 
I  expected  it  to  be  grappled  with.  But  no.  Mr.  Pinney,  in 
the  very  breath  that  he  protests  against  quibbling,  insists  on 
his  quibble  by  asking  if  prison  discipline  is,  then,  so  lax  that 
convicted  liquor  sellers  can  carry  on  their  business  within  the 
walls,  and  by  supposing  that  I  would  still  think  prohibition 
did  not  prohibit,  if  the  extreme  penalty  for  liquor  selling  were 
decapitation.  I  do  not  dispute  the  fact  that  a  man  cannot 
carry  on  the  liquor  business  as  long  as  he  is  in  prison,  nor  can 
Mr.  Pinney  dispute  the  fact  that  a  man  cannot  sell  certain 
foreign  goods  in  this  country  as  long  as  he  cannot  raise  the 
money  to  pay  the  tariff  ;  and  while  I  am  confident  that  de- 
capitation, if  rigorously  enforced,  would  stop  the  liquor  traffic, 
I  am  no  less  sure  that  the  effect  on  foreign  traffic  would  be 
equally  disastrous  were  decapitation  to  be  enforced  as  a  tax 
upon  importers.  On  Mr.  Pinney's  theory  the  prohibitory 
liquor  laws  could  be  made  non-prohibitory  simply  by  chang- 
ing the  penalties  from  imprisonments  to  fines.  The  absurdity 
of  this  is  evident. 

But,  if  I  were  to  grant  that  Mr.  Pinney's  quibble  shows  that 
there  is  no  analogy  between  a  prohibitory  liquor  law  and 
a  revenue  tariff  (which  I  do  not  grant,  but  deny),  it  would 
still  remain  for  him  to  show  that  there  is  no  analogy  between 
a  prohibitory  liquor  law  and  such  a  tariff  as  he  favors, — one  so 
high  as  to  be  absolutely  prohibitory  and  yield  no  revenue  at  all, 
^QX  else  admit  his  inconsistency  in  opposing  the  former  and 

I20  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

not  the  latter.     He  has  not  attempted  to  meet  this  point,  even 
with  a  quibble. 

One  other  point,  however,  he  does  try  to  meet.  To  my 
statement  that  his  position  on  the  abstract  question  of  liberty 
involves  logically  opposition  to  government  in  all  its  functions 
he  makes  this  answer  : 

Between  puritan  meddling  witli  a  man's  domestic  affairs,  and  necessary 
government  regulation  of  matters  which  the  individual  is  incompetent  to 
direct,  yet  which  must  be  directed  in  order  to  secure  to  the  individual  his 
rightful  liberty,  there  is  a  distance  sufficiently  large  to  give  full  play  to  our 
limited  faculties. 

But  who  is  to  judge  what  government  regulation  is  "neces- 
sary "  and  decide  what  matters  "  the  individual  is  incompetent 
to  direct  "  ?  The  majority  ?  But  the  majority  are  just  as 
likely  to  decide  that  prohibition  is  necessary  and  that  the  in- 
dividual is  incompetent  to  direct  his  appetite  as  that  a  tariff  is 
necessary  and  that  the  individual  is  incompetent  to  make  his 
own  contracts.  Mr.  Pinney,  then,  must  submit  to  the  will  of 
the  majority.  His  original  declaration,  however,  was  that 
despotism  was  despotism,  whether  exercised  by  a  monarch  or 
a  majority.  This  drives  him  back  upon  liberty  in  all  things. 
For  just  as  he  would  object  to  the  reign  of  a  monarch  disposed 
to  administer  affairs  rationally  and  equitably  simply  because 
he  was  a  monarch,  so  he  must  object  to  the  reign  of  a  majority, 
even  though  its  administration  were  his  ideal,  simply  because 
it  is  a  majority.  Mr.  Pinney  is  trying  to  serve  both  liberty 
and  authority,  and  is  making  himself  ridiculous  in  the  at- 


{Liberiy,  August  13,   1887.] 

The  Winsted  Press  makes  a  long  leader  to  ridicule  the 
Anarchists  for  favoring  private  enterprise  in  the  letter-carry- 
ing business.  It  grounds  its  ridicule  on  two  claims, — first, 
that  private  enterprise  would  charge  high  rates  of  postage, 
and,  second,  that  it  would  not  furnish  transportation  to  out- 
of-the-way  points.  An  indisputable  fact  has  frequently  been 
cited  in  Liberty  which  instantly  and  utterly  overthrows  both 
pf  these  claims.     Its  frequent  citation,  however,  has  ha,d  pQ 


effect  upon  the  believers  in  a  government  postal  monopoly. 
I  do  not  expect  another  repetition  to  produce  any  effect  upon 
the  Winsted  Press;  still  I  shall  try  it. 

Some  half-dozen  years  ago,  when  letter  postage  was  still 
three  cents,  Wells,  Fargo  &  Co.  were  doing  a  large  business  in 
carrying  letters  throughout  the  Pacific  States  and  Territories. 
Their  rate  was  five  cents,  more  than  three  of  which  they  ex- 
pended, as  the  legal  monopoly  required,  in  purchasing  of  the 
United  States  a  stamped  envelope  in  which  to  carry  the  letter 
intrusted  to  their  care.  That  is  to  say,  on  every  letter  which 
they  carried  they  had  to  pay  a  tax  of  more  than  three  cents. 
Exclusive  of  this  tax,  AVells,  Fargo  &  Co.  got  less  than  two  cents 
for  each  letter  which  they  carried,  while  the  government  got 
three  cents  for  each  letter  which  it  carried  itself,  and  more  than 
three  cents  for  each  letter  which  Wells,  Fargo  &  Co.  carried. 
On  the  other  hand,  it  cost  every  individual  five  cents  to  send 
by  Wells,  Fargo  &  Co.,  and  only  three  to  send  by  the  govern- 
ment. Moreover,  the  area  covered  was  one  in  which  im- 
mensity of  distance,  sparseness  of  population,  and  irregulari- 
ties of  surface  made  out-of-the-way  points  unusually  difficult 
of  access.  Still,  in  spite  of  all  these  advantages  on  the  side 
of  the  government,  its  patronage  steadily  dwindled,  while  that 
of  Wells,  Fargo  &  Co.  as  steadily  grew.  Pecuniarily  this,  of 
course,  was  a  benefit  to  the  government.  But  for  this  very 
reason  such  a  condition  of  affairs  was  all  the  more  mortify- 
ing. Hence  the  postmaster-general  sent  a  special  commis- 
sioner to  investigate  the  matter.  He  fulfilled  his  duty  and 
reported  to  his  superior  that  Wells,  Fargo  &  Co.  were  com- 
plying with  the  law  in  every  particular,  and  were  taking  away 
the  business  of  the  government  by  furnishing  a  prompter  and 
securer  mail  service,  not  alone  to  principal  points,  but  to  more 
points  and  remoter  points  than  were  included  in  the  govern- 
ment list  of  post-offices. 

Whether  this  state  of  things  still  continues  I  do  not  know. 
I  presume,  however,  that  it  does,  though  the  adoption  of  two- 
cent  postage  may  have  changed  it.  In  either  case  the  fact 
is  one  that  triumphs  over  all  possible  sarcasms.  In  view 
of  it,  what  becomes  of  Editor  Pinney's  fear  of  ruinous  rates 
of  postage  and  his  philanthropic  anxiety  on  account  of  the 
dwellers  in  Wayback  and  Hunkertown  ? 

122  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 


[Liberty^  September  lo,  1887.] 

Appreciating  the  necessity  of  at  least  seeming  to  meet  the 
indisputable  fact  which  I  opposed  to  its  championship  of  gov- 
ernment postal  monopoly,  the  Winsted  Press  presents  the  fol- 
lowing ghost  of  an  answer,  which  may  be  as  convincing  to 
the  victims  of  political  superstition  as  most  materializations 
are  to  the  victims  of  religious  superstition,  but  which,  like 
those  materializations,  is  so  imperceptible  to  the  touch  of  the 
hard-headed  investigator  that,  when  he  puts  his  hand  upon  it, 
he  does  not  find  it  there. 

The  single  instance  of  Wells,  Fargo  &  Co.,  cited  by  B.  R.  Tucker  to 
prove  the  advantage  of  private  enterprise  as  a  mail  carrier,  needs  fuller 
explanation  of  correlated  circumstances  to  show  its  true  significance. 
As  stated  by  Mr.  Tucker,  this  company  half  a  dozen  years  ago  did  a 
large  business  carrying  letters  throughout  the  Pacific  States  and  Terri- 
tories to  distant  and  sparsely  populated  places  for  five  cents  per  letter, 
paying  more  than  three  to  the  government  in  compliance  with  postal 
law  and  getting  less  than  two  for  the  trouble,  and,  though  it  cost  the 
senders  more,  the  service  was  enough  better  than  government's  to  se- 
cure the  greater  part  of  the  business. 

This  restatement  of  my  statement  is  fair  enough,  except 
that  it  but  dimly  conveys  the  idea  that  Wells,  Fargo  &  Co. 
were  carrying,  not  only  to  distant  and  sparsely  populated 
places,  but  to  places  thickly  settled  and  easy  of  access,  and 
were  beating  the  government  there  also, — a  fact  of  no  little 

Several  facts  may  explain  this  :  i.  Undeveloped  government  service 
in  a  new  country,  distant  from  the^  seat  of  government. 

Here  the  ghost  appears,  all  form  and  no  substance. 
"  John  Jones  is  a  better  messenger  than  John  Smith,"  de- 
clares the  Winsted  Press,  "  because  Jones  can  run  over 
stony  ground,  while  Smith  cannot."  "  Indeed  !"  I  answer  ; 
"  why,  then,  did  Smith  outrun  Jones  the  other  day  in  going 
from  San  Francisco  to  Wayback  ?  "  "  Oh  !  that  may  be  ex- 
plained," the  Press  rejoins,  "  by  the  fact  that  the  ground  was 
stony."  The  Press  had  complained  against  the  Anarchistic 
theory  of  free  competition  in  postal  service  that  private  en- 
terprise would  not  reach  remote  points,  while  government 
does  reach  them.     I  proved  by  facts  that  private  enterprise 


was  more  successful  than  government  in  reaching  remote 
points.  What  sense,  then,  is  there  in  answering  that  these 
points  are  distant  from  the  government's  headquarters  and 
that  it  had  not  developed  its  service  ?  The  whole  point  lies 
in  the  fact  that  private  enterprise  was  the  first  to  develop  its 
service  and  the  most  successful  in  maintaining  it  at  a  high 
degree  of  efficiency. 

2.  Government  competition  which  kept  Wells  &  Fargo  from  charging 
monopoly  prices. 

If  the  object  of  a  government  postal  service  is  to  keep 
private  enterprise  from  charging  high  prices,  no  more  striking 
illustratiori  of  the  stupid  way  in  which  government  works  to 
achieve  its  objects  could  be  cited  than  its  imposition  of  a  tax 
of  two  (then  three)  cents  a  letter  upon  private  postal  com- 
panies. It  is  obvious  that  this  tax  was  all  that  kept  Wells, 
Fargo  &  Co.  from  reducing  their  letter-rate  to  three  or  even 
two  cents,  in  which  case  the  government  probably  would 
have  lost  the  remnant  of  business  which  it  still  commanded. 
This  is  guarding  against  monopoly  prices  with  a  vengeance  ! 
The  competitor,  whether  government  or  individual,  who  must 
tax  his  rival  in  order  to  live  is  no  competitor  at  all,  but  a 
monopolist  himself.  It  is  not  government  competition  that 
Anarchists  are  fighting,  but  government  monopoly.  It  should 
be  added,  however,  that,  pending  the  transformation  of  gov- 
ernments into  voluntary  associations,  even  government  com- 
petition is  unfair,  because  an  association  supported  by  com- 
pulsory taxation  could  always,  if  it  chose,  carry  .the  mails  at 
less  than  cost  and  tax  the  deficit  out  of  the  people. 

3.  Other  paying  business  which  brought  the  company  into  contact  with 
remote  districts  and  warranted  greater  safeguards  to  conveyance  than 
government  then  offered  to  its  mail  carriers. 

Exactly.  What  does  it  prove  ?  Why,  that  postal  service 
and  express  service  can  be  most  advantageously  run  in  con- 
junction, arid  that  private  enterprise  was  the  first  to  find  it  out. 
This  is  one  of  the  arguments  which  the  Anarchists  use. 

4.  A  difference  of  two  cents  was  not  appreciated  in  a  country  where 
pennies  were  unknown. 

Here  the  phantom  attains  the  last  degree  of  attenuation. 
If  Mr.  Pinney  will  call  at  the  Winsted  post-ofifice,  his  post- 
master will  tell  him — what  common  sense  ought  to  have 
taught  him — that  of  all  the  stamps  used  not  over  five  per 
cent,    are   purchased  singly,  the  rest  being  taken  two,  three, 

124  I^jSteAd  oi*  A  6O0K. 

five,  ten,  a  hundred,  or  a  thousand  at  a  time.  CalifornianS 
are  said  to  be  very  reckless  in  the  matter  of  petty  expendi- 
tures, but  I  doubt  if  any  large  portion  of  them  would  carry 
their  prodigality  so  far  as  to  pay  five  dollars  a  hundred  for 
stamps  when  they  could  get  them  at  three  dollars  a  hundred 
on  the  next  corner. 

These  conditions  do  not  exist  elsewhere  in  this  country  at  present. 
Therefore  the  illustration  proves  nothing. 

Proves  nothing  !  Does  it  not  prove  that  private  enterprise 
outstripped  the  government  under  the  conditions  that  then 
and  there  existed,  which  were  difficult  enough  for  both,  but 
extraordinarily  embarrassing  for  the  former  ? 

We  know  that  private  enterprise  does  not  afford  express  facilities  to 
sparsely  settled  districts  throughout  the  country. 

I  know  nothing  of  the  kind.  The  express  companies  cover 
practically  the  whole  country.  They  charge  high  rates  to 
points  difficult  of  access  ;  but  this  is  only  just.  The  govern- 
ment postal  rates,  on  the  contrary,  are  unjust.  It  certainly  is 
not  fair  that  my  neighbor,  who  sends  a  hundred  letters  to 
New  York  every  year,  should  have  to  pay  two  cents  each  on 
them,  though  the  cost  of  carriage  is  but  one  cent,  simply  be- 
cause the  government  spends  a  dollar  in  carrying  for  me  one 
letter  a  year  to  Wayback,  for  which  I  also  pay  two  cents.  It 
may  be  said,  however,  that  where  each  individual  charge  is  so 
small,  a  schedule  of  rates  would  cause  more  trouble  and  ex- 
pense than  saving  ;  in  other  words,  that  to  keep  books  would 
be  poor  economy.  Very  likely  ;  and  in  that  case  no  one 
would  find  it  out  sooner  than  the  private  mail  companies. 
This,  however,  is  not  the  case  in  the  express  business,  where 
parcels  of  all  sizes  and  weights  are  carried. 

No  more  would  it  mail  facilities.  A  remarkable  exception  only  proves 
the  rule.  But,  if  private  enterprise  can  and  will  do  so  much,  why  doesn't 
it  do  it  now?  The  law  stands  no  more  in  the  way  of  Adams  Express 
than  it  did  in  the  way  of  the  Wells  &  Fargo  express. 

This  reminds  me  of  the  question  with  which  Mr.  Pinney 
closed  his  discussion  with  me  regarding  free  money.  He  de- 
sired to  know  why  the  Anarchists  did  not  start  a  free  money 
system,  saying  that  they  ought  to  be  shrewd  enough  to  devise 
some  way  of  evading  the  law.  As  if  any  competing  business 
could  be  expected  to  succeed  if  it  had  to  spend  a  fortune 
in  contesting  lawsuits  or  in  paying  a  heavy  tax  to  which  its 
rival  was  not  subject !  So  handicapped,  it  could  not  possibly 
succeed  unless  its  work  was  of  such  a  nature  as  to  admit  the 


widest  range  of  variation  in  point  of  excellence.  This  was 
the  case  in  the  competition  between  Wells,  Fargo  &  Co.  and 
the  government.  The  territory  covered  was  so  ill-adapted  to 
postal  facilities  that  it  afforded  a  wide  margin  for  the  display 
of  superiority,  and  Wells,  Fargo  &  Co.  took  advantage  of  this 
to  such  an  extent  that  they  beat  the  government  in  spite  of 
their  handicap.  But  in  the  territory  covered  by  Adams  Ex- 
press it  is  essentially  different.  There  the  postal  service  is  so 
simple  a  matter  that  the  possible  margin  of  superiority  would 
not  warrant  an  extra  charge  of  even  one  cent  a  letter.  But  I 
am  told  that  Adams  Express  would  be  only  too  glad  of  the 
chance  to  carry  letters  at  one  cent  each,  if  there  were  no  tax 
to  be  paid  on  the  business.  If  the  governmentalists  think 
that  the  United  States  can  beat  Adams  Express,  why  do  they 
not  dare  to  place  the  two  on  equal  terms  ?  That  is  a  fair  ques- 
tion. But  when  a  man's  hands  are  tied,  to  ask  him  why  he 
doesn't  fight  is  a  coward's  question. 


[Liierly,   August  4, 1888.] 

Uncle  Sam  carries  one  hundred  pounds  of  newspapers  two  thousand 
miles  for  two  dollars,  and  still  pays  the  railroad  three  times  too  much  for 
mail  service.  An  express  company  would  charge  twenty  dollars  for  the 
same  service  ;  yet  some  people  don't  know  why  all  express  stockholders 
are  millionaires  and  the  people  getting  poorer.  In  fact,  some  people 
don't  know  anything  at  all  and  don't  want  to.  It  is  very  unfortunate 
that  such  people  have  votes. —  The  Anti-Monopolist. 

Yes,  Uncle  Sam  carries  one  hundred  pounds  of  newspapers 
two  thousand  miles,  not  for  two  dollars,  but  for  one  dollar, 
pays  the  railroad  more  than  its  services  are  worth,  and  loses 
about  five  dollars  a  trip. 

Yes,  an  express  company  would  charge  twenty  dollars  for  the 
same  service,  because  it  knows  it  would  be  folly  to  attempt  to 
compete  with  the  one-dollar  rate,  and  therefore  charges  for  its 
necessarily  limited  business  such  rates  as  those  who  desire  a 
guarantee  of  promptness  and  security  are  willing  to  pay. 

Uncle  Sam  nevertheless  continues  to  carry  at  the  one-dollar 
rate,  knowing  that  this  is  a  good  way  to  induce  the  newspapers 
to  wink  at  his  villainies,  and  that  he  can  and  does  make  up  in 
two  ways  his  loss  of  five  dollars  a  trip, — i,  by  carrying  one 
hundred  pounds  of  letters  two  thousand  miles  for  thirty-two 

120  INSTEAD   OF   A   BOOK. 

dollars  and  forbidding  anybody  else  to  carry  them  for  less, 
although  the  express  companies  would  be  glad  of  the  chance 
to  do  the  same  service  for  sixteen  dollars  ;  and,  2,  by  taking 
toll  from  all  purchasers  of  whiskey  and  tobacco  at  home,  and 
of  various  other  articles  from  foreign  countries. 

And  yet  some  people  don't  know  why  the  thousands  of 
officeholders  who  are  pulling  away  at  the  public  teats  are  get- 
ting fat  while  the  people  are  getting  poorer.  In  fact,  some 
people  don't  know  anything  at  all  except_,  as  Josh  Billings  said, 
"  a  grate  menny  things  that  ain't  so."  It  is  very  unfortunate 
that  such  people  are  intrusted  with  the  editing  of  newspapers. 


ILiierty,  July  7,   1888.] 

In  Henry  George  may  be  seen  a  pronounced  type  of  the 
not  uncommon  combination  of  philosopher  and  juggler.  He 
possesses  in  a  marked  degree  the  faculty  of  luminous  exposi- 
tion of  a  fundamental  principle,  but  this  faculty  he  supple- 
ments with  another  no  less  developed, — that  of  so  obscuring 
the  connection  between  his  fundamental  principle  and  the 
false  applications  thereof  which  he  attempts  that  only  a  mind 
accustomed  to  analysis  can  detect  the  flaw  and  the  fraud.  We 
see  this  in  the  numerous  instances  in  which  he  has  made  a 
magnificent  defence  of  the  principle  of  individual  liberty  in 
theory,  only  to  straightway  deny  it  in  practice,  while  at  the 
same  time  palming  off  his  denial  upon  an  admiring  follow- 
ing as  a  practical  affirmation.  Freedom  of  trade  is  the  surest 
guarantee  of  prosperity  ;  ergo,  there  must  be  perfect  liberty  of 
banking ;  presto  !  there  shall  be  no  issue  of  money  save  by  the 
government.  Here,  by  the  sly  divorce  of  money-issuing  from 
banking,  he  seems  to  justify  the  most  ruinous  of  monopolies 
by  the  principle  of  liberty.  And  this  is  but  an  abridgment  of 
the  road  by  which  he  reaches  very  many  of  his  practical  con- 
clusions. His  simplicity  and  clearness  as  a  philosopher  so  win 
the  confidence  of  his  disciples  that  he  can  successfully  play 
the  rSle  of  a  prestidigitator  before  their  very  eyes.  They  do 
not  notice  the  transformation  from  logic  to  legerdemain.  For 
a  certain  distance  he  proceeds  carefully,  surely,  and  straight- 
forwardly by  the  method  of  ergo;  and  then,  when  the  minds 
of  his  followers  are  no  longer  on  the  alert,  presto  !  he  suddenly 
shouts,  and  in  a  twinkling  they  are  switched  off  upon  the  track 


of  error  without  a  suspicion  that  they  are  not  still  bound  direct 
for  truth.  It  is  this  power  to  prostitute  a  principle  to  the  fur- 
therance of  its  opposite,  to  use  truth  as  a  tool  of  falsehood, 
that  makes  Mr.  George  one  of  the  most  dangerous  men  among 
all  those  now  posing  as  public  teachers. 

One  of  the.  latest  and  craftiest  of  his  offences  in  this  direc- 
tion was  committed  in  the  Standard  of  June  23  in  a  discus- 
sion of  the  copyright  problem.  A  correspondent  having  raised 
the  question  of  property  in  ideas,  Mr.  George  discusses  it 
elaborately.  Taking  his  stand  upon  the  principle  that  pro- 
ductive labor  is  the  true  basis  of  the  right  of  property,  he  ar- 
gues through  three  columns,  with  all  the  consummate  ability 
for  which  credit  is  given  him  above,  to  the  triumphant  vindi- 
cation of  the  position  that  there  can  rightfully  be  no  such 
thing  as  the  exclusive  ownership  of  an  idea. 

No  man,  he  says,  "  can  justly  claim  ownership  in  natural 
laws,  nor  in  any  of  the  relations  which  may  be  perceived  by 
the  human  mind,  nor  in  any  of  the  potentialities  which  nature 
holds  for  it.  .  .  .  Ownership  comes  from  production.  It 
cannot  come  from  discovery.  Discovery  can  give  no  right  of 
ownership.  .  .  .  No  man  can  discover  anything  which,  so 
to  speak,  was  not  put  there  to  be  discovered,  and  which  some 
one  else  might  not  in  time  have  discovered.  If  he  finds  it,  it 
was  not  lost.  It,  or  its  potentiality,  existed  before  he  came. 
It  was  there  to  be  found.  ...  In  the  production  of  any  ma- 
terial thing — a  machine,  for  instance — there  are  two  separable 
parts, — the  abstract  idea  or  principle,  which  may  be  usually 
expressed  by  drawing,  by  writing,  or  by  word  of  mouth  ;  and 
the  concrete  form  of  the  particular  machine  itself,  which 
is  produced  by  bringing  together  in  certain  relations  certain 
quantities  and  qualities  of  matter,  such  as  wood,  steel,  brass, 
brick,  rubber,  cloth,  etc.  There  are  two  modes  in  which  labor 
goes  to  the  making  of  the  machine, — the  one  in  ascertaining 
the  principle  on  which  such  machines  can  be  made  to  work  ; 
the  other  in  obtaining  from  their  natural  reservoirs  and  bring- 
ing together  and  fashioning  into  shape  the  quantities  and 
qualities  of  matter  which  in  their  comlaination  constitute  the 
concrete  machine.  In  the  first  mode  labor  is  expended  in  dis- 
covery. In  the  second  mode  it  is  expended  in  production. 
The  work  of  discovery  may  be  done  once  for  all,  as  in  the 
case  of  the  discovery  in  prehistoric  time  of  the  principle  or 
idea  of  the  wheelbarrow.  But  the  work  of  production  is  re- 
quired afresh  in  the  case  of  each  particular  thing.  No  matter 
how  many  thousand  millions  of  wheelbarrows  have  been  pro- 
duced, it  requires  fresh  labor  of  production  to  make  another 

128  Instead  of  a  book. 

one.  .  .  .  The  natural  reward  of  labor  expended  in  discov- 
ery is  in  the  use  that  can  be  made  of  the  discovery  with- 
out interference  with  the  right  of  any  one  else  to  use  it.  But 
to  this  natural  reward  our  patent  laws  endeavor  to  add  an  arti- 
ficial reward.  Although  the  effect  of  giving  to  the  discoverers 
of  useful  devices  or  processes  an  absolute  right  to  their  exclu- 
sive use  would  be  to  burden  all  industry  with  most  grievous 
monopolies,  and  to  greatly  retard,  if  not  put  a  stop  to,  further 
inventions,  yet  the  theory  of  our  patent  laws  is  that  we  can 
stimulate  discoveries  by  giving  a  modified  right  of  ownership 
in  their  use  for  a  term  of  years.  In  this  we  seek  by  special 
laws  to  give  a  special  reward  to  labor  expended  in  discovery, 
which  does  not  belong  to  it  of  natural  right,  and  is  of  the  na- 
ture of  a  bounty.  But  as  for  labor  expended  in  the  second  of 
these  modes, — in  the  production  of  the  machine  by  the  bring- 
ing together  in  certain  relations  of  certain  quantities  and  qual- 
ities of  matter, — we  need  no  special  laws  to  reward  that. 
Absolute  ownership  attaches  to  the  results  of  such  labor,  not 
by  special  law,  but  by  common  law.  And  if  all  human  laws, 
were  abolished,  men  would  still  hold  that,  whether  it  were  a 
wheelbarrow  or  a  phonograph,  the  concrete  thing  belonged  to 
the  man  who  produced  it.  And  this,  not  for  a  term  of  years, 
but  in  perpetuity.  It  would  pass  at  his  death  to  his  heirs  or 
to  those  to  whom  he  devised  it." 

The  whole  of  the  preceding  paragraph  is  quoted  from  Mr. 
George's  article.  I  regard  it  as  conclusive,  unanswerable.  It 
proceeds,  it  will  be  noticed,  entirely  by  the  method  of  ergo. 
But  it  is  time  for  the  philosopher  to  disappear.  He  has  done 
his  part  of  the  work,  which  was  the  demolition  of  patents. 
Now  it  is  the  prestidigitator's  turn.  It  remains  for  him  to  jus- 
tify copyright, — that  is,  property,  not  in  the  ideas  set  forth  in 
a  book,  but  in  the  manner  of  expressing  them.  So  juggler 
George  steps  upon  the  scene.  Presto!  he  exclaims  :  "Over 
and  above  any  '  labor  of  discovery '  expended  in  thinking  out 
what  to  say,  is  the  '  labor  of  production '  expended  on  how  to 
say  it."  Observe  how  cunningly  it  is  taken  for  granted  here 
that  the  task  of  giving  literary  expression  to  an  idea  is  labor 
of  production  rather  than  labor  of  discovery.  But  is  it  so  ? 
Right  here  comes  in  the  juggler's  trick  ;  we  will  subject  it  to 
the  philosopher's  test.  The  latter  has  already  been  quoted  : 
"  The  work  of  discovery  may  be  done  once  for  all  .  .  .  but  the 
work  of  production  is  required  afresh  in  the  case  of  each  par- 
ticular thing."  Can  anything  be  plainer  than  that  he  who  does 
the  work  of  combining  words  for  the  expression  of  an  idea 
saves  just  that  amount  of  labor  to  all  who  thereafter  choose 

ttit  Individual,  society,  AkD  the  state.         ti^ 

to  use  the  same  words  in  the  same  order  to  express  the  same 
idea,  and  that  this  work,  not  being  required  afresh  in  each 
particular  case,  is  not  work  of  production,  and  that,  not  being 
work  of  production,  it  gives  no  right  of  property  ?  In  quoting 
Mr.  George  above  I  did  not  have  to  expend  any  labor  on  "  how 
to  say  "  what  he  had  already  said.  He  had  saved  me  that 
trouble.  I  simply  had  to  write  and  print  the  words  on  fresh 
sheets  of  paper.  These  sheets  of  paper  belong  to  me,  just  as 
the  sheets  on  which  he  wrote  and  printed  belong  to  him.  But 
the  particular  combination  of  words  belongs  to  neither  of  us. 
He  discovered  it,  it  is  true,  but  that  fact  gives  him  no  rignt  to 
it.  Why  not  ?  Because,  to  use  his  own  phrases,  this  combi- 
nation of  words  "  existed  potentially  before  he  came";  "it 
was  there  to  be  found  ";  and  if  he  had  not  found  it,  some  one 
else  would  or  might  have  done  so.  The  work  of  copying  or 
printing  books  is  analogous  to  the  production  of  wheelbar- 
rows, but  the  original  work  of  the  author,  whether  in  thinking 
or  composing,  is  analogous  to  the  intfention  of  the  wheelbar- 
row ;  and  the  same  argument  that  demolishes  the  right  of  the 
inventor  demolishes  the  right  of  the  author.  The  method  of 
expressing  an  idea  is  itself  an  idea,  and  therefore  not  appro- 

The  exposure  is  complete.  But  will  Mr.  George  acknowl- 
edge it  ?  Not  he.  He  will  ignore  it,  as  he  has  ignored  similar 
exposures  in  these  columns  of  his  juggling  with  the  questions 
of  rent,  interest,  and  money.  The  juggler  never  admits  an 
exposure.  It  would  be  ruinous  to  his  business.  He  lies  low 
till  the  excitement  has  subsided,  and  then  "  bobs  up  serenely  " 
and  suavely  to  hoodwink  another  crowd  of  greenhorns  with 
the  same  old  tricks.  Such  has  been  juggler  George's  policy 
heretofore  ;  such  it  will  be  hereafter. 


{Liberty,  August  2,  1890.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

Will  you  permit  tne  to  aslc  you  for  the  definition,  from  an  Anarchistic 
standpoint,  of  the  "  Right  of  Ownership  "  ?  What  do  you  mean  to  con- 
vey when  you  say  that  a  certain  thing  belongs  to  a  certain  person  ? 

Before  directing  my  attention  to  the  study  of  the  social  question,  I  had 
a  rather  confused  notion  of  the  meaning  of  this  term.  Ownership  ap- 
peaKedlomea  kind  of  amalgamation  of  wealth  with  the  individual.  This 
conception  could,  of  course,  not  be  sustained  in  an  analysis  of  the  social 

t^Q  INSTEAD   OP   A    Book. 

question  and  the  distribution  of  wealth.  For  some  time  I  could  not 
obtain  a  cleir  notion  as  to  what  the  term,  as  popularly  used,  really  signi- 
fies, nor  could  I  find  a  satisfactory  definition  in  any  of  the  books  I  had  at 
command.  The  writers  of  dictionaries  content  themselves  with  quoting 
a  number  of  synonyms  which  throw  no  light  on  the  subject,  and  the  writ- 
ers on  Political  Economy  seem  not  to  bother  themselves  about  such  trifles. 
They  need  no  solid  foundations  for  their  theories  since  they  build  their 
castles  in  the  air.  It  is  said  that  ownership  is  the  "  exclusive  right  of 
possession,"  but  this  explanation  fails  to  meet  the  inquiry  of  him  who  can 
nowhere  find  a  satisfactory  explanation  of  the  import  of  the  term  "right." 

It  is  clear  that  a  radical  distinction  exists  between  possession  and  own- 
ership, though  these  concepts  are  in  a  measure  related  to  each  other.  It 
seems  reasonable,  therefore,  to  expect  to  find  a  clue  by  examining  the  dis- 
tinction that  exists  between  the  possessor  and  the  owner  of  a  thing.  And 
this  examination  is  not  difEcuIt.  The  owner  of  a  thing  which  for  some 
reason  is  in  the  possession  of  some  one  else  may  demand  its  return,  and, 
if  it  is  not  returned  willingly,  /Ae  aid  of  the  law  can  be  invoked.  This 
leads  to  the  conclusion  that  the  right  of  ownership  is  that  relation  be- 
tween a  thing  and  a  person  created  by  the  social  promise  to  guarantee 

This  is  the  only  definition  that  appears  satisfactory  to  me.  But  it  im- 
plies the  existence  of  a  social  organization,  however  crude  it  may  be.  It 
implies  that  a  supreme  power  will  enforce  the  command  :  "Thou  shalt 
not  steal."  And  in  the  measure  in  which  this  social  organization  gains 
stability  and  in  which  this  social  power  gains  a  more  universal  suprem- 
acy, the  right  of  ownership  will  assume  a  more  definite  existence. 

Now  I  can  perhaps  repeat  my  question  in  a  way  to  be  better  under- 
stood. Has  Anarchism  a  different  conception  of  the  right  of  ownership, 
or  is  this  right  altogether  repudiated,  or  is  it  assumed  that  out  of  the 
ruins  of  government  another  social  organization,  wielding  a  supreme 
power,  will  arise?     I  can  at  present  see  no  other  alternative. 

»  Hugo  Bilgkam. 

In  discussing  such  a  question  as  this,  it  is  necessary  at  the 
start  to  put  aside,  as  Mr.  Bilgram  doubtless  does  put  aside,  the 
intuitive  idea  of  right,  the  conception  of  right  as  a  standard 
which  we  are  expected  to  observe  from  motives  supposed  to  be 
superior  to  the  consideration  of  our  interests.  When  I  speak 
of  the  "  right  of  ownership,"  I  do  not  use  the  word  "  right  "  in 
that  sense  at  all.  In  the  thought  that  I  take  to  be  funda- 
mental in  Mr.  Bilgram's  argument — namely,  that  there  is  no 
right,  from  the  standpoint  of  society,  other  than  social  expedi- 
ency— I  fully  concur.  But  I  am  equally  certain  that  the 
standard  of  social  expediency — that  is  to  say,  the  facts  as  to 
what  really  is  socially  expedient,  and  the  generalizations  from 
those  facts  which  we  may  call  the  laws  of  social  expediency 
— exists  apart  from  the  decree  of  any  social  power  whatever. 
In  accordance  with  this  view,  the  Anarchistic  definition  of  the 
right  of  ownership,  while  closely  related  to  Mr.  Bilgram's,  is 
such  a  modification  of  his  that  it  does  not  carry  the  implica- 
tion which  his  carries  and  which  he  points  out.     From  an  An- 


archistic  standpoint,  the  right  of  ownership  is  that  control  of  a 
thing  by  a  person  which  will  receive  either  social  sanction,  or 
else  unanimous  individual  sanction,  when  the  laws  of  social 
expediency  shall  have  been  finally  discovered.  (Of  course  I 
might  go  farther  and  explain  that  Anarchism  considers  the 
greatest  amount  of  liberty  compatible  with  equality  of  liberty 
the  fundamental  law  of  social  expediency,  and  that  nearly  all 
Anarchists  consider  labor  to  be  the  only  basis  of  the  right  of 
ownership  in  harmony  with  that  law  ;  but  this  is  not  essential 
to  the  definition,  or  to  the  refutation  of  Mr.  Bilgrara's  point 
against  Anarchism.) 

It  will  be  seen  that  the  Anarchistic  definition  just  given 
does  not  imply  necessarily  the  existence  of  an  organized  or  in- 
stituted social  power  to  enforce  the  right  of  ownership.  It 
contemplates  a  time  when  social  sanction  shall  be  superseded 
by  unanimous  individual  sanction,  thus  rendering  enforcement 
needless.  But  in  such  an  event,  by  Mr.  Bilgram's  definition, 
the  right  of  ownership  would  cease  to  exist.  In  other  words, 
he  seems  to  think  that,  if  all  men  were  to  agree  upon  a  prop- 
erty standard  and  should  voluntarily  observe  it,  property  would 
then  have  no  existence  simply  because  of  the  absence  of  any 
institution  to  protect  it.  Now,  in  the  view  of  the  Anarchists, 
property  would  then  exist  in  its  perfection. 

So  I  would  answer  Mr.  Bilgram's  question,  as  put  in  his 
concluding  paragraph,  as  follows  :  Anarchism  does  not  repu- 
diate the  right  of  ownership,  but  it  has  a  conception  thereof 
sufficiently  different  from  Mr.  Bilgram's  to  include  the  possi- 
bility of  an  end  of  that  social  organization  which  will  arise, 
not  out  of  the  ruins  of  government,  but  out  of  the  transfor- 
mation of  government  into  voluntary  association  for  defence. 


[Liberty,  June  7,  i8go.] 

In  an  unsigned  article  in  the  Open  Court  (written,  I  suspect 
by  the  editor)  I  find  the  following  : 

When  Anarchists  teach  the  sovereignty  of  the  individual,  we  have  to 
inform  them  that  society  is  an  organized  whole.  The  individual  is  what 
he  is  through  the  community  only,  and  he  must  obey  the  laws  that  govern 
the  growth  of  communal  life.  The  more  voluntary  this  obedience  is,  the 
better  it  is  for  the  community  as  well  as  for  the  individual  himself.  But 
if  th?  indivi(Jual  4oes  not  voluntarily  obey  the  laws  of  the  comrounity,  gq- 

132  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

ciety  has  a  right  to  enforce  them.     There  is  no  such  thing  as  sovereignty 
of  the  individual. 

True,  there  is  no  such  thing  ;  and  we  Anarchists  mean  that 
there  shall  be  such  a  thing.  The  criticism  of  the  Open  Court 
vi^riter  is  doubtless  valid  against  those  Anarchists  who  premise 
the  sovereignty  of  the  individual  as  a  natural  right  to  which 
society  has  no  right  to  do  violence.  But  I  cannot  understand 
its  force  at  all  when  offered,  as  it  is,  in  comment  on  the  decla- 
ration of  "  a  leading  Anarchist  of  Chicago  "  that  the  goal  of 
progress  is  individual  sovereignty. 

Anarchism  of  the  "  natural  right  "  type  is  out  of  date.  The 
Anarchism  of  to-day  affirms  the  right  of  society  to  coerce  the 
individual  and  of  the  individual  to  coerce  society  so  far  as 
either  has  the  requisite  power.  It  is  ready  to  admit  all  that 
the  Open  Court  writer  claims  in  behalf  of  society,  and  then  go 
so  far  beyond  him  that  it  will  take  his  breath  away. 

But,  while  admitting  and  affirming  all  this,  Anarchism  also 
maintains  (and  this  is  its  special  mission)  that  an  increasing 
familiarity  with  sociology  will  convince  both  society  and  the 
individual  that  practical  individual  sovereignty — that  is,  the 
greatest  amount  of  liberty  compatible  with  equality  of  liberty 
— is  the  law  of  social  life,  the  only  condition  upon  which  hu- 
man beings  can  live  in  harmony.  When  this  truth  is  ascer- 
tained and  acted  upon,  then  we  shall  have  individual  sover- 
eignty in  reality, — not  as  a  sacred  natural  right  vindicated, 
but  as  a  social  expedient  agreed  upon,  or  we  will  even  say 
as  a  privilege  conferred,  if  the  Open  Court  writer  prefers  the 
word  as  tending  to  tickle  the  vanity  of  his  god.  Society.  It 
is  in  this  sense  that  Liberty  champions  individual  sovereignty. 
The  motto  on  our  flag  is  not  "  Liberty  a  Natural  Right,"  but 
"  Liberty  the  Mother  of  Order." 

It  is  to  be  hoped  that  the  Open  Court  writer  will  note  this 
before  again  giving  voice  to  the  commonplace  twaddle  about 
Nationalism  and  Anarchism  as  extreme  opposites  both  of 
which  are  right  and  both  wrong.  Anarchism  is  exactly  as  ex- 
treme, exactly  as  right,  and  exactly  as  wrong,  as  that  "  ideal 
state  of  society^ "  which  the  Open  Court  writer  pictures, — "  a 
state  in  which  there  is  as  much  order  as  possible  and  at  the 
same  time  as  much  individual  liberty  as  possible."  In  fact. 
Anarchism  finds  itself  exactly  coextensive  with  the  idea  which 
its  critic  thus  expresses  ;  "  Wherever  a  nation  is  developing 
in  the  line  of  progress,  we  shall  always  notice  an  increas- 
ing realization  of  these  two  apparently  antagonistic  principles, 
■ — liberty  and  order," 



[Liberty^  January  25,  1890.] 

The  New  Abolition  Party,  nominally  of  the  United  States, 
but  really  limited  at  present  (pending  the  time  when  it  is  to 
"sweep  the  country  like  a  wave '")  by  the  walls  of  the  Individ- 
ualist office  at  Denver,  started  out  with  eight  demands  ;  and, 
taken  as  a  whole,  very  good  demands  they  were.  Lately  it 
has  added  a  ninth  ;  just  why,  I  don't  know,  unless  New  Abo- 
lition was  jealous  of  Liberalism  and  bound  to  have  as  many 
demands.  This  explanation  seems  hardly  reasonable,  because 
in  the  case  of  Liberalism  nine  does  not  seem  to  have  proved 
a  magic  number  for  demand  purposes.  However  this  may  be, 
it  is  certain  that  the  ninth  demand  is  a  square  contradiction  of 
some  of  the  most  important  of  its  eight  other  demands,  notably 
the  fifth  and  seventh.  The  ninth  demand  is  for  "  collective 
mamtenance  and  control  of  all  public  highways,  waterways, 
railways,  canals,  ditches,  reservoirs,  telegraphs,  telephones, 
ferries,  bridges,  water  works,  gas  works,  parks,  electric  plants, 
etc.,  to  be  operated  in  the  interest  of  the  people."  The  seventh 
demand  is  for  "immediate  and  unconditional  repeal  of  all 
forms  of  compulsory  taxation."  The  fifth  demand  is  for 
"  immediate  and  unconditional  repeal  of  all  statutes  that  in 
any  way  interfere  with  free  trade  between  individuals  of  the 
same  or  of  different  countries."  Suppose  that  Mr.  Stuart  (the 
father  of  New  Abolition)  and  I  live  on  the  same  side  of  a 
river.  I  have  a  boat;  Mr.  Stuart  has  none.  Mr.  Stuart  comes 
to  me  and  says  :  "  How  much  will  you  charge  to  row  me  across 
the  river?  "  "  Ten  cents,"  I  answer.  "  It  is  a  bargain,  "  says 
Mr.  Stuart,  and  he  steps  into  the  boat.  But  up  steps  at  the 
same  time  the  New  Abolition  party  in  the  shape  of  a  police- 
man (and  it  will  have  to  take  that  shape,  because  in  these  mat- 
ters a  demand  without  a  blue  coat  on  its  back  and  a  club  in 
its  hand  is  an  ineffective  demand)  and  says  to  me  :  "  See  here! 
stop  that !  Don't  you  know  that  the  New  Abolition  party, 
which  at  the  last  election  '  swept  the  country  like  a  wave,'  in- 
undated your  row-boat  with  the  rest  by  instituting  the  '  collec- 
tive maintenance  and  control  of  all  ferries  '  ?  If  you  attempt 
to  row  Mr.  Stuart  across  the  river,  I  shall  confiscate  your  boat 
in  the  name  of  the  law."  And  then,  addressing  Mr.  Stuart, 
the  policeman  adds  :  "  So  you  may  as  well  get  out  of  that 
^oat  and  take  the  ferrj^-boat  which  the  New  Abolitionists  have 

134  "'"     INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

already  provided."  "  Officer,  you  are  exceeding  your  duty," 
hotly  replies  Mr.  Stuart ;  "  I  have  made  a  bargain  with  Mr. 
Tucker,  and,  if  you  were  at  all  qualified  for  your  post,  you 
would  know  that  the  New  AboHtion  party  demanded,  in  the 
platform  upon  which  it  '  swept  the  country  like  a  wave,'  the 
'  immediate  and  unconditional  repeal  of  all  statutes  that  in  any 
way  interfere  with  free  trade.'  "  "  Yes,"  I  say,  hastening  to  put 
in  my  oar  (I  use  the  word  metaphorically,  not  referring  at  all 
to  my  boat-oar),  "  and  you  would  know  too  that  this  same  tri- 
umphant party  demanded  tlT,e  '  immediate  and  unconditional 
repeal  of  all  forms  of  compulsory  taxation.'  So  I  should  like 
to  see  you  confiscate  my  boat."  "  Oh  !  you're  a  couple  of 
tom-noodles,  way  behind  the  times,"  retorts  the  policeman  ; 
"  tlie  demands  of  which  you  speak  were  numbered  five  and 
seven  ;  but  the  demand  in  regard  to  ferries  was  a  ninth  and 
later  demand,  which  invalidated  all  previous  demands  that 
conflicted  with  it.''  Mr.  Stuart,  being  a  law-abiding  citizen 
and  not  one  of  those  "  Boston  Anarchists  "  who  do  not  be- 
lieve in  the  State,  sorrowfully  steps  from  the  boat  inwardly 
cursing  his  political  offspring,  takes  the  government  ferry-boat 
an  hour  later,  and  gets  across  the  river  just  in  time  to  lose 
the  benefit  of  a  lecture  by  a  "  Boston  Anarchist  "  on  "  The 
Fate  of  the  Individualist  Who  Threw  a  Sop  to  the  Socialistic 


[Lil}eyty,  August  6,   1892.] 

A  PUBLIC-SCHOOL  teacher  of  my  acquaintance,  much  inter- 
ested in  Anarchism  and  almost  a  convert  thereto,  finds  him- 
self under  the  necessity  of  considering  the  question  of  com- 
pulsory education  from  a  new  standpoint,  and  is  puzzled  by  it. 
In  his  quandary  he  submits  to  me  the  following  questions  : 

1.  If  a  parent  starves,  tortures,  or  mutilates  his  child,  thus  actively- 
aggressing  upon  it  to  its  injury,  is  it  just  for  other  members  of  the  group 
to  interfere  to  prevent  such  aggression  ? 

2.  If  a  parent  neglects  to  provide  food,  shelter,  and  clothing  for  his 
child,  thus  neglectiifg  the  self-sacrifice  implied  by  the  second  corollary  of 
the  law  of  equal  freedom,  is  it  just  for  other  members  of  the  group  to 
interfere  to  compel  him  so  to  provide? 

3.  If  a  parent  wilfully  aims  to  prevent  his  child  from  reaching  mental 
or  moral,  without  regard  to  physical,  maturity,  is  it  just  for  other  mepir 
^er?  pf  the  ^roup  to  interfere  to  prevent  such  aggression  ? 


4.  If  a  parent  neglects  to  provide  opportunity  for  the  child  to  reach  men- 
tal maturity, — assuming  that  mental  maturity  can  be  defined, — is  it  just 
for  other  members  of  the  group  to  interfere  to  compel  him  so  to  provide  ? 

5.  7/  it  be  granted  that  a  knowledge  of  reading  and  writing— z.«,,  of 
making  and  interpreting  permanent  signs  of  thought — is  a  necessary  iMvva- 
tion  of  maturity,  and  if  a  parent  neglects  and  refuses  to  provide  or  ac- 
cept opportunity  for  his  child  to  learn  to  read  and  write,  is  it  just  for 
other  members  of  the  group  to  interfere  to  compel  the  parent  so  to  pro- 
vide or  accept? 

Before  any  of  these  questions  can  be  answered  with  a  straight 
yes  or  no,  it  must  first  be  ascertained  whether  the  hypothetical 
parent  violates,  by  his  hypothetical  conduct,  the  equal  freedom, 
not  of  his  child,  but  of  other  members  of  society.  Not  of  his 
child,  I  say  ;  why  ?  Because,  the  parent  being  an  independ- 
ent, responsible  individual,  and  the  child  being  a  dependent, 
irresponsible  individual,  it  is  obviously  inequitable  and  virtu- 
ally impossible  that  equal  freedom  should  characterize  the  re- 
lations between  them.  In  this  child,  however,  who  is  one  day 
to  pass  from  the  condition  of  dependence  and  irresponsibility 
to  the  condition  of  independence  and  responsibility,  the  other 
members  of  society  have  an  interest,  and  out  of  this  considera- 
tion the  question  at  once  arises  whether  the  parent  who  impairs 
the  conditions  of  this  child's  development  thereby  violates 
the  equal  freedom  of  those  mature  individuals  whom  this  de- 
velopment unquestionably  affects.  — 

Now  it  has  been  frequently  pointed  out  in  Liberty,  in  dis- 
cussing the  nature  of  invasion,  that  there  are  certain  acts  vthich 
all  see  clearly  as  invasive  and  certain  other  acts  which  all  see 
clearly  as  non-invasive,  and  that  these  two  classes  comprise 
vastly  the  larger  part  of  human  conduct,  but  that  they  are 
separated  from  each  other,  not  by  a  hard  and  fast  line,  but  by 
a  strip  of  dark  and  doubtful  territory,  which  shades  off  in 
either  direction  into  the  regions  of  light  and  clearness  by  an 
imperceptible  gradation.  In  this  strip  of  greater  or  less  ob- 
scurity are  included  that  minority  of  human  actions  which 
give  rise  to  most  of  our  political  differences,  and  in  the  thick 
of" its  Cimmerian  centre  we  find  the  conduct  of  parent  toward 

We  cannot,  t_hen,  clearly  identify  the  maltreatment  of  child 
by  parent  as  either  invasive  or  non-invasive  of  the"  liberty  of 
third  parties.  In  such  a  difficulty  we  must  have  recourse  to 
the  policy  presented  by  Anarchism  for  doubtful  cases.  As  I 
cannot  state  this  policy  better  than  I  have  stated  it  already,  I 
quote  my  own  words  from  Liberty,  No.  154 : 

"  Then  liberty  always,  say  the  Anarchists.  No  use  of  force, 
except  against  the  invader ;  and  in  those  cases  where  it  is  diffi- 

136  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

cult  to  tell  whether  the  alleged  offender  is  an  invader  or  not,  still 
no  use  of  force  except  where  the  necessity  of  immediate  solu- 
tion is  so  imperative  that  we  must  use  it  to  save  ourselves. 
And  in  these  few  cases  where  we  must  use  it,  let  us  do  so  frankly 
and  squarely,  acknowledging  it  as  a  matter  of  necessity,  with- 
out seeking  to  harmonize  our  action  with  any  political  ideal  or 
constructing  any  far-fetched  theory  of  a  State  or  collectivity 
having  prerogatives  and  rights  superior  to  those  of  individuals 
and  aggregations  of  individuals  and  exempted  from  the  opera- 
tion of  the  ethical  principles  which  individuals  are  expected 
to  observe." 

In  other  words,  those  of  us  who  believe  that  liberty  is  the 
great  educator,  the  "  mother  of  order,"  will,  in  case  of  doubt, 
give  the  benefit  to  liberty,  or  non-interference,  unless  it  is 
plain  that  non-interference  will  result  in  certain  and  immedicete 
disaster,  if  not  irretrievable,  at  any  rate  too  grievous  to  be 

Applying  this  rule  to  the  subject  under  discussion,  it  is  evi- 
dent at  once  that  mental  and  moral  maltreatment  of  children, 
since  its  effects  are  more  or  less  remote,  should  not  be  met 
with  physical  force,  but  that  physical  maltreatment,  if  suffi- 
ciently serious,  may  be  so  met. 

In  specific  answer  to  my  questioner,  I  would  say  that,  if  he 
insists  on  the  form  of  his  questions,  "  Is  it  just  ?  "  etc.,  I  cannot 
answer  them  at  all,  because  it  is  impossible  for  me  to  decide 
whefher  interference  is  just  unless  I  can  first  decide  whether  or 
no  there  has  already  been  invasion.  But  if,  instead  of  "  Is  it 
just  ? "  he  should  ask  in  each  case,  "  Is  it  Anarchistic  policy? " 
I  would  then  make  reply  as  follows  : 

1.  Yes. 

2.  Yes,  in  sufficiently  serious  cases. 

3.  No. 

4.  No. 
5-  No. 


\_Liberiy,  September  3,  1892.] 

The  wisdom  of  acts  is  measured  by  their  consequences. 

The  individual's  measure  of  consequences  is  proportionate  to  the  circle 
of  his  outlook.  His  horizons  may  lie  so  near  that  he  can  only  measure 
at  short  range.     But,  whether  they  be  near  or  far,  he  can  only  judge 


of  consequences  as  approximately  or  remotely  touching  himself.  His 
judgment  may  err  ;  his  motive  remains  always  the  same,  whether  he  be 
conscious  of  it  or  not. 

That  motive  is  necessarily  egoistic,  since  no  one  deliberately  chooses 
misery  when  happiness  is  open  to  him.  Acts  always  resulting  either  in- 
differently or  in  furtherance  of  happiness  or  increase  of  misery,  one  who 
has  power  to  decide  and  intelligence  to  determine  probable  consequences 
will  certainly  give  preference  to  the  course  which  will  ultimately  advance 
his  own  happiness. 

The  law  of  equal  freedom,  "  Every  one  is  free  to  do  whatsoever  he 
wills,*'  appears  to  me  to  be  the  primary  condition  to  happiness.  If  I  fail 
to  add  the  remainder  of  Herbert  Spencer's  celebrated  law  of  equal  free- 
dom, I  shall  only  risk  being  misinterpreted  by  persons  who  cannot  un- 
derstand that  the  opening  affirmation  includes  what  follows,  since,  if  any 
one  did  infringe  upon  the  freedom  of  another,  all  would  not  be  equally 

Liberty  without  intelligence  rushes  towards  its  own  extinction  contin- 
ually, and  continually  rescues  itself  by  the  knowledge  born  of  its  pain. 

Intelligence  without  liberty  is  a  mere  potentiality,  a  nest-full  of  un- 
hatched  eggs. 

Progress,  therefore,  presupposes  the  union  of  intelligence  and  liberty  : 
Freedom  to  act,  wisdom  to  guide  the  action. 

Equal  freedom  is  the  primary  condition  to  happiness. 

Intelligence  is  the  primary  condition  to  equality  in  freedom. 

Liberty  and  intelligence  acting  and  reacting  upon  each  other  produce 
growth.  , 

Thus  growth  and  happiness  are  seen  to  be,  if  not  actually  synonymous, 
almost  inseparable  companions. 

Where  equal  freedom  is  rendered  impossible  by  disproportion  in  de- 
grees of  development,  the  hope  of  the  higher  units  lies  in  the  education 
of  the  lower. 

Children,  because  of  their  ignorance,  are  elements  of  inharmony,  hin- 
drances to  equal  freedom.  To  quicken  the  processes  of  their  growth  is 
to  contribute  towards  the  equalization  of  social  forces. 

Then,  liberty  being  essential  to  growth,  they  must  be  left  as  free  as  is 
compatible  with  their  own  safety  and  the  freedom  of  others. 

Just  here  arises  my  difficulty,  which  I  freely  admit.  For  the  enuncia- 
tion of  this  principle  is  the  opening  of  a  Pandora's  box,  from  which  all 
things  fly  out  excepting  adult  judgment. 

Who  shall  decide  upon  the  permissible  degree  of  freedom  ?  Who  shall 
adjust  the  child's  freedom  to  its  safety  so  that  the  two  shall  be  delicately, 
flawlessly  balanced  ? 

The  fecundity  of  these  questions  is  without  limit.  Of  them  are  born 
controversies  that  plague  all  the  unregenerate  alike,  whether  they  be 
philosophers  or  the  humblest  truth-seekers. 

Christians  escape  this  toilsome  investigation.  Their  faith  in  rulership 
simplifies  all  the  relations  of  life.  Their  conduct  need  not  be  consistent 
with  equal  freedom,  since  obedience,  not  liberty,  is  the  basis  of  their 
ideal  society. 

Reluctantly  I  admit  that  during  infancy  and  to  some  extent  in  childhood 
others  must  decide  what  is  for  a  child's  welfare. 

The  human  babe  is  a  pitiably  helpless  and  lamentably  ignorant  ani- 
mal. It  does  not  even  know  when  it  is  hungry,  but  seeks  the  maternal 
breast  as  a  cure-all  for  every  variety  of  physical  uneasiness  ;  therefore 
the  mother  or  nurse  must  inevitably  decide  for  it  even  the  quantity  of 

138  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

nourishment  it  may  safely  receive  and  the  length  of  time  that  may  inter- 
vene between  tenders  of  supplies.  That  these  judgments  are  far  from 
infallible  is  well  known.  One  mother  of  five  living  children  confessed 
to  me  that  she  had  lost  one  child,  starved  it  in  the  process  of  learning 
that  her  lactation  furnished  a  substance  little  more  nutritious  than  water. 

Grown  older,  the  babe  does  not  know  the  danger  of  touching  a  red- 
hot  stove.  How  should  it  know?  It  is  without  experience.  The 
mother's  impulse  is  to  rescue  the  tender,  white  baby-hand.  Is  she  wise 
in  interposing  this  restraint?  I  think  she  is  not.  If  the  child  is  to  have 
bayoneted  sentries  always  on  guard  between  it  and  experience,  it  can 
only  grow  surreptitiously.  I  say  "  bayoneted "  advisedly,  since  the 
hand  interposed  between  the  baby  and  the  stove  not  infrequently  em- 
phasizes its  power  with  a  blow  which  gives  more  pain  than  the  burn 
would  have  given,  while  its  value  as  experience  may  be  represented 
by  the  minus  sign. 

The  theory  that  it  is  the  duty  of  parents  to  provide  for  the  needs 
of  their  young  children,  and  of  children  to  obey  their  parents,  and, 
in  their  age,  to  support  them,  is  so  generally  accepted  that  I  shall  rouse 
a  storm  of  indignation  by  asserting  that  there  are  no  duties. 

While  a  cursory  glance  at  the  subject  may  seem  to  show  a  denial  of 
equal  freedom  in  the  refusal  of  a  parent  to  support  his  child,  a  more 
careful  study  will  reveal  the  truth  that,  so  long  as  he  does  not  hinder  the 
activities  of  any  one  nor  compel  any  other  person  or  persons  to  under- 
take the  task  which  he  has  relinquished,  he  cannot  be  said  to  violate  the 
law  of  equal  freedom.  Therefore  his  associates  may  not  compel  him  to 
provide  for  his  child,  though  they  may  forcibly  prevent  him  from  aggress- 
ing upon  it.  They  may  prevent  acts  ;  they  may  not  compel  the  perfor- 
mance of  actions. 

It  will,  perhaps,  be  well  to  anticipate  at  this  point  a  question  sure  to 
be  asked  during  the  discussion. 

Is  it  not  aggression  on  the  part  of  parents  to  usher  into  existence  a 
child  for  which  they  are  either  unable  or  unwilling  to  provide? 

Much  may  be  said  in  reply. 

First  :  In  any  association  differences  of  opinion  would  arise  as  to 
whether  it  was  aggression  or  not  ;  these  differences  would  imply  doubt, 
and  the  doubt  would  make'forcible  prevention,  even  if  practicable,  un- 

Second  :  This  doubt  would  be  strengthened  by  consideration  of  the  fact 
that  no  one  could  be  able  to  predict  with  certainty  nine  months  previous 
to  the  birth  of  a  child  that  at  the  time  of  its  birth  its  parents  would  be  un- 
able to  provide  sustenance  for  it. 

Third  :  It  would  be  further  strengthened  by  the  knowledge  that  death 
is  always  open  to  those  who  find  life  intolerable,  and,  so  long  as  persons 
seek  to  prolong  existence,  they  cannot  properly  complain  of  those  who 
thrust  it  upon  them.  A  young  babe  does  not  question  whether  the  milk 
it  feeds  upon  flows  from  its  mother's  breast  or  from  the  udder  of  a  cow, 
and  should  it,  with  dawning  intelligence,  feel  disturbed  in  mind  or  dis- 
tressed in  body  by  reason  of  its  relations  towards  its  environments,  it  will, 
by  then,  have  learned  the  art  of  dying. 

And  now,  having  opened  a  gulf  which  swallows  up  duty,  shall  I  be  able 
to  allay  the  consternation  of  those  who  have  substituted  the  worship  of 
this  for  their  repudiated  worship  of  another  unsubstantial  God  ? 

It  has  seemed  to  me  that,  generally  speaking,  people's  love  for  their 
children  is  in  inverse  proportion  to  their  love  of  God  and  duty.  However 
this  may  be, — and  I  will  admit  that,  although  parallel  and  pertinent,  it  is 


hot  directly  in  the  line  of  inquiry  I  am  pursuing, — there  is  still  left  to  us 
the-certainty  that  increasing  intelligence  will  more  and  more  incline  indi- 
viduals to  face  the  consequences  of  their  own  acts  ;  not  for  duty's  sake, 
but  in  order  to  help  establish  and  preserve  that  social  harmony  which  will 
be  necessary  to  their  happiness. 

Even  in  the  present  semi-barbarous  condition  of  parental  relations  it  is 
exceptional,  unusual,  for  parents  to  abandon  their  children,  and  the  two 
distinct  incentives  to  such  abandonment  will  be  removed  by  social  evolu- 
tion, leaving  the  discussion  of  the  obligation  of  parents  to  care  for  their  . 
children  purely  abstract  and  rather  unprofitable,  since  no  one  will  refuse 
to  do  so. 

The  two  motives  to  which  I  refer  are  poverty  and  fear  of  social  oblo- 
quy. Married  parents  sometimes  desert  their  children  because  they  lack 
abundant  means  of  subsistence  ;  unmarried  parents  occasionally  not  only 
desert  their  offspring,  but  deny  them,  in  order  to  escape  the  malice  of  the 
unintelligent  who  believe  that  vice  is  susceptible  of  transmutation  into 
virtue  by  the  blessing  of  a  priest,  and  virtue  into  vice  by  the  absence  of 
the  miracle-working  words. 

Recognition  of  the  law  of  equal  freedom  would  nearly  remove  the  first, 
render  the  second  more  endurable,  and  finally  obliterate  both,  leaving 
parents  without  motive  for  the  abandonment  cf  offspring. 

That  parents  usually  find  happiness  in  provision  for  the  welfare  of  their 
young  is  well  known.  Even  the  habits  of  the  lower  animals  afford  evi- 
dence sufficient  to  establish  this  position,  and,  for  convenience,  postulating 
it  as  a  principle,  I  shall  proceed  to  examine  how  far  parents  defeat  their 
own  aim  by  unintelligent  pursuit  of  it. 

Food  is  the  first,  because  the  indispensable,  requisite  to  welfare,  but  un- 
intelligent and  indiscriminate  feeding  results  in  thousands  of  deaths  annu- 
ally and  sows  seeds  of  chronic  invalidism  in  millions  of  young  stomachs. 

Clothing  also  is  considered  indispensable,  and  is  so  in  rigorous  climates, 
but  the  primary  object  of  covering  the  body,  which  is  surely  to  make  it 
comfortable,  is  usually  almost  wholly  forgotten  in  the  effort  to  conform  to 
accepted  ideals  of  beauty, — ideals  often  involving  peculiar  departures  from 
natural  forms. 

Shelter  is  a  necessity  which  is  often  accompanied  by  such  over-zealous 
inhospitality  to  fresh  air  as  places  choice  between  in-door  and  out-door 
life  in  uncertain  balance. 

But  the  sturdiest  pursuits  and  the  dreariest  defeats  and  failures  are  found 
in  educational  endeavors. 

The  child  comes  into  an  unknown  world.  His  blinking  eyes  cannot 
decide  which  is  nearer,  the  lighted  taper  on  the  table  or  the  moon  seen 
through  the  window.  He  does  not  know  that  a  Riverside  orange  is  larger 
than  the  palm  of  his  tiny  hand  until  he  has  learned  the  truth  by  repeated 
efforts  to  grasp  it.  He  has  all  things  to  learn:  ideas  of  dimension,  weight, 
heat,  moisture,  density,  resistance,  gravitation, — all  things  in  their  inter- 
relations and  their  relations  to  himself.  And  what  bungling  assistance  he 
receives  in  the  bewildering  path  through  this  tangle  of  truth  ! 

He  learns  that  God  sends  the  rain,  the  hail,  and  the  snow  down  from 
the  sky ;  that  his  little  sister  was  brought  from  heaven  by  an  angel  and 
deposited  in  a  doctor's  pill-bags.  The  tie  of  relationship  between  her  and 
himself  remains  a  mystery.  Anthropomorphism  lurks  everywhere.  The 
unseen  hand  moves  all  things.  He  asks  many  questions  which  his  teachers 
cannot  answer,  and,  unwilling  to  confess  their  ignorance,  they  constantly 
reiterate  :  "  God  did  it,"  as  if  that  were  an  answer. 

5(46  INSTEAB  OP   A   BOOK. 

Turning  from  unsuccessful  inquiries  concerning  natural  phenomena, 
perhaps  the  child  perceives,  in  a  dim  way,  his  relations  with  the  State,  and, 
as  God  posed  before  him  in  the  realm  of  philosophy  and  science,  so  do  all 
replies  to  his  questionings  now  end  in  omnipotent  government. 

"Why  does  no  one  prevent  the  man  with  a  star  from  clubbing  the  other 
man  ?  " 

"  Because  he  is  a  policeman." 

"  Who  said  that  a  policeman  might  strike  people?" 

"The  government." 

"  What  is  the  government  ?  " 

"  The  government  is my  son,  you  will  learn  when  you  are  older." 

"Who  pays  the  policeman  for  clubbing  the  other  man?" 

"  The  government." 

"Where  does  the  government  get  the  money?" 

"You  will  learn  when  you  are  older." 

Usually  at  the  age  of  six  years,  or  even  earlier,  a  child's  education  is 
practically  abandoned  by  its  inefficient  parents  and  intrusted  to  the  church 
and  the  State. 

The  State  uses  money  robbed  from  the  parents  to  perpetuate  its  powers 
of  robbery  by  instructing  their  children  in  its  own  interest. 

The  church,  also,  uses  its  power  to  perpetuate  its  power.  And  to  these 
twin  leeches,  as  "Ouida"  has  aptly  designated  them,  to  these  self-inter- 
ested robbers  and  murderers,  are  the  tender  minds  of  babies  entrusted 
for  education. 

Herbert  Spencer  has  shown  that  the  status  of  women  and  children  im- 
proves in  proportion  to  the  decline  of  militarism  and  the  advance  of  in- 

The  military  spirit  is  encouraged  in  multifold  ways  by  both  church  and 
State,  and  little  children  and  women,  in  their  pitiable  ignorance,  assist  in 
weaving  nets  that  shall  trip  their  own  unwary  feet  and  those  of  other 
women  and  children  that  follow  them. 

A  spirit  of  subordination  is  inculcated  by  both  church  and  State,  which 
contemplate  without  rebuke  the  brutalities  of  authority,  excepting  in 
some  cases  of  extraordinary  cruelty,  and  teach  the  helpless  victims  that 
it  is  their  duty  to  submit. 

The  most  commonplace  tenets  of  the  sepowers  would  seem  absurd 
and  outrageous  if  expounded  to  an  unprepared  adult  mind  and  stripped 
of  all  those  devices  of  language  by  which  the  various  promptings  of 
shame,  good  nature,  ignorance,  or  deceit  impel  us  to  soften  the  truth. 

Say  to  such  an  one  : 

"  Slurder  by  the  State  is  laudable  ;  murder  by  an  individual  is  criminal. 

"  Robbery  by  the  State  is  permissible  ;  robbery  by  an  individual  is  a 
serious  offence  against  the  person  robbed  and  also  against  public  wel- 

"Assault  of  the  parent  upon  his  child  is  justifiable;  assault  of  the 
child  upon  the  parent  is  intolerable." 

He  would  not  look  upon  you  with  the  simple  confidence  of  a  puzzled 
child,  attributing  the  apparent  incompatibilities  to  the  feebleness  of  his 
own  understanding. 

But  to  the  child  these  bewildering  social  sophistries,  flowing  into  his 
mind  from  sources  that  appeal  to  his  trust,  and  presented  with  ambigui- 
ties of  language  that  serve  to  increase  its  difficulties,  must  appear  hope- 
less labyrinths  of  mystery. 

Thus  at  every  step  from  infancy  to  adult  life  the  progress  of  the  child 
is  checked  by  the  incapacity  of  those  who  desire   to  advance  its  welfare. 

tHE    iNblVlDUAL,    SOCIETY,    AND    THE    STATE.  I4I 

Inherited  tendencies  and  the  training  which  they  themselves  received 
incline  parents  to  become  inexorable  masters  and  to  commend  most  the 
conduct  of  that  child  which  is  easiest  enslaved. 

Parents  beat  their  children,  elder  children  beat  younger  brothers  and 
sisters,  and  the  wee  ones  avenge  their  wrongs  vicariously  by  beating  their 
dolls  or  their  wooden  horses. 

Through  individual  revolts  against  the  general  barbarity,  revolts  of 
increasing  frequency  and  power,  humanity  gradually  evolves  above  actual 
application  of  its  savage  principles.  But  these  revolts  against  savagery, 
when  led  by  emotion,  often  result  nearly  as  disastrously  as  savagery- 

Reason  must  be  the  basis  of  all  enduring  social  growth. 

When  reason  shall  have  learned  to  rebel  against  inequalities  in  liber- 
ties, and  when  this  mental  rebellion  shall  have  become  quite  general, 
then  will  people  have  passed  beyond  danger  of  relapse  into  savagery. 

Then  parent  and  child  shall  not  be  master  and  slave,  a  relation  dis- 
tasteful to  reasoning  people,  but  they  shall  be  friend  and  friend.  There 
will  be  no  restraints  imposed  except  such  as  are  absolutely  necessary, 
and  these  will  not  take  the  form  of  blows  and  will  be  removed  as  early  as 

Examples  of  such  restraints  as  I  mean  are  : 

Detention  from  the  brink  of  a  precipice  or  an  open  well  or  the  track  of 
a  coming  locomotive,  or  of  one  child  from  striking  another. 

Parents  who  recognize  the  fundamental  principle  of  happiness  through 
freedom  and  intelligence  will,  generally  speaking,  achieve  results  pro- 
portionate to  the  degree  of  their  success  in  harmonizing  their  lives  with 
this  principle.  The  greater  their  intelligence  the  higher  perfection  will 
they  reach  in  the  interpretation  and  application  of  the  law  of  equal  free- 
dom, and  in  preparing  their  children  to  attain  harmonious  relations  with 
their  environment. 


How  to  make  liars  of  children  : 

I  have  said  that  infants  have  all  things  to  learn.  It  would  seem,  and 
would  be,  superfluous  to  repeat  a  fact  so  well  known,  were  it  not  true 
that  most  people  credit  little  children  with  so  much  more  knowledge  than 
they  could  possibly  have  acquired  in  the  given  time.  I  have  heard,  not 
once  but  many  times,  mothers  accuse  young  children  of  falsehood  when 
I  fully  believed  that  the  apparent  misstatements  were  due  in  part  to  the 
little  ones'  weak  grasp  on  the  language  which  they  attempted  to  speak, 
and  partly  to  misinterpretation  of  facts.  Even  grown-up  people  do  not 
look  upon  the  simplest  incident  from  exactly  the  same  point  of  view  ;  yet 
they  expect  from  mere  babes  perfection  of  accuracy,  and,  being  disap- 
pointed in  this  unreasonable  expectation,  accuse  them  of  falsehood,  and 
not  infrequently  worry  them  into  admitting  faults  which  have,  in  reality, 
no  meaning  to  their  dim  understandings.  But  after  lying  has  come  to 
have  meaning,  the  little  mind  becomes  indifferent  to  truthfulness,  finding 
that  punishment  falls  the  same,  whether  it  inspire  truth  or  falsehood. 

Thus  the  child  is  made  a  liar  by  its  parents'  ignorant  endeavor  to' teach 
it  regard  for  the  truth. 

But  worse  mistakes  are  made  by  those  parents  whose  daily  conversa- 
tion with  their  children  furnishes  examples  of  untruthfulness.  Who  has 
not  been  frightened  into  obedience  by  tales  of  a  bogie-man,  a  Chinaman, 
a  black  man,  or  a  Santa  Claus  with  his  rattan, — stories  which  do  triple 
injury  by  fostering  cowardice,  class  hatred,  and  lying? 

142  INSTEAD   OF   A   BOOK. 

7*15  teach  a  child  to  steal : 

Carefully  lock  away  from  him  all  fruits  and  sweets.  Allow  him  no 
money  for  personal  expenses.  If  you  miss  anything,  accuse  him  of 
having  taken  it.  If  you  send  him  out  to  make  purchases,  count  the 
change  with  suspicious  care  when  he  returns.  If  he  has  lost  a  few  pen- 
nies, accuse  him  of  having  spent  them  for  candy.  If  you  never  buy 
candy  for  him,  this  will  teach  him  a  means  of  supplying  himself,  and 
probably  your  next  accusation  will  be  true. 

Strike  children  and  they  learn  to  strike  each  other  ;  scold  them  and 
they  learn  to  quarrel  ;  give  them  drums  and  flags  and  uniforms  and  toy 
guns  and  they  desire  to  become  professional  murderers.  Open  their 
letters,  listen  to  their  conversations  with  their  young  friends,  pry  into 
their  little  secrets,  invade  their  private  rooms  without  knocking,  and  you 
make  them  meddlers  and  disagreeable  companions. 

I  have  said  that  it  is  not  the  duty  of  children  to  obey  their  parents  or 
to  care  for  them  in  old  age. 

The  following  facts  bear  on  this  position  : 

The  life  of  a  child  is  usually  merely  incident  to  the  pleasure  of  its 
parents,  and  is  often  an  accident  deeply  deplored  by  both.  Even  when 
conception  is  desired,  it  is  still  for  the  pleasure  of  the  parents.  If  it  were 
possible,  which  it  is  not,  to  conceive  of  a  life  given  solely  for  its  own 
happiness,  its  parents  taking  no  pleasure  either  in  the  sexual  relation  or 
in  the  hope  of  offspring,  the  child  could  incur  no  responsibility  by  the 
opinions  or  the  acts  of  its  parents. 

After  its  birth  the  child  does  not  say  : 

"  Give  me  food  clothes,  and  shelter  now  in  exchange  for  food,  clothes, 
and  shelter  which  I  will  give  you  in  your  old  age,"  and,  could  he  make 
such  a  contract,  it  would  be  void.  A  man  cannot  be  bound  by  proihises 
he  made  during  his  infancy. 

The  question  of  obedience  I  pass,  since  highly-evolved  parents  cannot 
be  obeyed,  because  they  will  not  command. 

On  careful  thought  ihe  removal  of  the  idea  of  duty  will  be  seen  to  be 
less  startling  than  it  must  at  first  appear  to  those  who  have  accepted  with- 
out question  the  dogmas  of  authority.  Mr.  Cowell  has  called  my  atten- 
tion to  the  fact  that  the  love  which  most  people  have  for  their  parents  or 
foster-parents  is  evidence  that  few  wholly  lack  lovable  attributes.  During 
the  long  years  of  familiar  companionship  between  parents  and  child  ties 
are  usually  formed  which  cannot  be  broken  while  life  lasts,  not  ties  of 
duty  but  of  affection  ;  these  render  mutual  helpfulness  a  source  of  pleas- 
ure. If  they  be  lacking,  a  self-respecting  parent  would  choose  the  shelter 
of  .in  almshouse  rather  than  the  grudging  charity  bestowed  by  his  child 
under  the  spur  of  a  behef  in  duty. 

1  Clara  Dixon  Davidson. 

■tHE    INDlVlbtjAL,    SOCIETY,    AiSft)    THE   STATfi.  143 


[Li/terty,  September  3,  1892.] 
To  the  Editor  of  Liberty : 

While  reading  your  lucid  editorial  on  the  above  topic,  some  thoughts 
occurred  to  me  which  I  venture  to  offer  in  the  hope  that  they  may  serve 
to  supplement  what  you  have  said  in  dealing  with  your  scholastic  friend's 
well-put  queries. 

I  cannot  help  thinking  that  he  had  in  mind  a  very  un-Anarchistic  con- 
dition of  things  when  he  formulated  the  questions.  Why  is  compulsory 
education  in  vogue  to-day?  For  whom  is  it  intended?  If  society  had 
been  composed  of  well-to-do  people  having  all  the  comforts,  advantages, 
and  opportunities  of  civilization  that  some  only  enjoy  at  present,  would 
the  idea  of  statutory  compulsion  in  the  bringing-up  and  education  of  chil- 
dren ever  have  been  thought  of,  much  less  put  into  force  ?  Are  such  legal 
regulations  applied,  practically,  to  the  classes  superior  in  fortune  to  the 
majority,  in  whose  interest  (?)  the  regulations  are  supposed  to  be  made? 

I  find  myself  dropping  into  the  interrogative  style,  like  our  friendly 
inquirer,  and  while  in  it  would  like  to  ask  him,  thoiigh  not  wishing  to 
usurp  the  functions  of  a  father  confessor,  if  he  had  not  in  view,  perhaps 
vaguely  and  even  unconsciously,  when  thinking  over  the  matter  that  he 
embodied  in  the  five  points,  a  typical  wage  slave,  underpaid,  uneducated, 
unrefined,  the  victim  of  compulsory  restrictions  and  stultifying  law-made 
conditions,  a  man  or  woman  without  intelligence,  whose  narrow  mental 
scope  and  abnormal  moral  nature  are  the  result  of  circumstances  pro- 
duced by  invasive  tyranny, — in  short,  parents  whose  unfilial  instincts 
and  unsocial  acts  are  the  direct  outcome  of  ages  of  legal  oppression.  To 
such  persons  only  could  the  assumptions  underlying  the  questions  apply. 

If  our  friend  apprehends  clearly  the  drift  of  the  queries  above  arid 
consequently  answers  them  to  our  mutual  satisfaction,  he  will  then,  I 
imagine,  discard  his  third,  fourth,  and  fifth  questions  as  imnecessary  and 
inapplicable  to  a  truly  Anarchist  condition  of  society.  It  seems  to  me 
unwise  to  attempt  to  apply  Anarchistic  principles  to  one  case  of  social 
relations,  itself  arising  out  of  other  relations,  without  at  the  same  time 
tracing  that  case  to  its  sources  and  there  defining  the  bearings  of  the 
whole  in  relation  to  perfect  liberty, — Anarchy.  I  would  not  turn  aside 
to  condemn  some  kinds  of  compulsory  interference  which  are  really  at- 
tempts at  ameliorating  the  conditions  that  more  inimical  invasion  has 
brought  about,  but  would  rather  strike  straight  at  the  previous  and  more 
vital  violations  of  the  law  of  equal  freedom.  Hence  I  agree  with  the 
editor  when  he  answers  No.  No,  No,  to  the  last  three  problems,  not  only 
on  the  grounds  he  lays  down,  but  also  because  I  believe  that  the  eco- 
nomic emancipation  which  would  result  from  the  adoption  of  Anarchy 
as  a  basic  method  in  Society  would  speedily  solve  all  such  problems  by 
relegating  them  to  the  Museum  of  Curiosities  of  the  Ante-Revolution. 

On  grounds  of  sentiment,  of  sympathy,  feeling,  and  humanity,  which 
would  probably  be  stronger  and  more  generous  under  equal  liberty  than 
now,  I  would  not  hesitate  to  act  in  the  circumstances  supposed  in  the 
first  and  second  questions,  though  such  action  would  certainly  not  be  dic- 
tated by  the  mere  theory  of  Anarchism,  but  would  be  no  more  a  violation 
of  it  than  would  a  refusal  in  such  cases  to  interfere. 

144  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOIC. 

The  undoubted  tendency  of  an  adoption  of  Anarchy  would  be,  how- 
ever, to  minimize  the  possibility  of  unsocial  conduct  of  the  character 
under  discussion,  if  not  to  abolish  it  altogether.      Fraternally  yours, 

William  Bailie. 


{Liberty,  September  3,  1892.] 

Nearly  the  whole  of  this  issue  of  Liberty  is  devoted  to  the 
important  question  of  the  status  of  the  child  under  Anarchy. 
The  long  article  by  Clara  Dixon  Davidson  has  been  in  my 
desk,  unopened,  for  several  months.  On  examining  it  the 
other  day,  I  was  surprised  and  delighted  to  find  that  a  woman 
had  written  such  a  bold,  unprejudiced,  unsentimental,  and 
altogether  rational  essay  on  a  subject  which  women  are  espe- 
cially prone  to  treat  emotionally.  I  am  even  shamed  a  little 
by  the  unhesitating  way  in  which  she  eliminates  from  the 
problem  the  fancied  right  of  the  child  to  life.  My  own  diffi- 
culties, I  fear,  have  been  largely  due  to  a  lingering  trace  of  this 
superstition.  The  fact  is  that  the  child,  like  the  adult,  has  no 
right  to  life  at  all.  Under  equal  freedom,  as  it  develops  in- 
dividuality and  independence,  it  is  entitled  to  immunity  from 
assault  or  invasion,  and  that  is  all.  If  the  parent  neglects  to 
support  it,  he  does  not  thereby  oblige  any  one  else  to  support 
it.  If  others  give  it  support,  they  do  so  voluntarily,  as  they 
might  give  support  to  a  neglected  animal ;  there  is  no  more 
obligation  in  the  one  case  than  in  the  other. 

I  also  welcome  as  important  Comrade  Bailie's  contribution 
to  the  discussion.  In  one  view  the  question  of  the  status  of 
the  child  under  Anarchy  is  a  trivial  one, — trivial  because  the 
bugbears  that  surround  it  are  hypothetical  monsters,  and  be- 
cause such  ugly  realities  as  do  actually  confront  it  are  put  to 
rout  by  the  new  social  conditions  which  Anarchy  induces. 
Even  at  present  comparatively  few  parents  are  disposed  to 
abuse  or  neglect  their  children,  and  in  the  absence  of  poverty 
and  false  notions  of  virtue  their  number  will  be  infinitesimal 
and  may  be  safely  neglected.  The  question  is  one  that  van- 
ishes as  we  approach  it. 

The  chief  value  of  its  discussion  is  found  in  the  light  which 
it  throws  on  the  matter  of  equal  freedom.  Hence  I  am  glad 
that  it  was  brought  forward  by  my  friend  the  school-teacher, 
whose  questions  I  answered  in  No.  232,  and  who  now  rejoins 
with  the  following  letter  : 


To  the  Editor  of  Liberty : 

I  gather  from  your  editorial  that  it  is  Anarchistic  policy  for  neighbors 
to  interfere  if  a  parent  is  about  to  chisel  off  the  third  finger  of  its  child's 
left  hand,  even  if  he  proposes  to  secure  a  well-healed  stump.  I  think  I 
know  you  well  enough  to  say  that  it  is  not  Anarchistic  policy  for  neigh- 
bors to  interfere  if  the  parent,  otherwise  sane,  proposes  to  treat  his  own 
finger  so.  Now,  where  is  the  criterion  of  these  two  cases  ?  Why  should 
the  child's  physical  integrity  be  of  more  importance  to  neighbors  than  the 
father's  ?  Do  we  not  recognize  some  substitute  for  or  remnant  of  the  law 
of  equal  freedom,  restraining  the  parent's  absolute  control  over  the  mind, 
body,  and  life  of  his  child  ?  "  Not  for  the  child's  sake,"  primarily,  be- 
cause all  sane  altruism  is  rooted  in  egoism  :  but  it  is  Anarchistic  policy  to 
recognize  and  defend  the  child's  right  to  physical  integrity,  in  extreme 

Again.uhe  reason  why  we  draw  the  line  of  Anarchistic  policy  at  inter- 
ference with  any  but  physical  maltreatment  is,  if  I  am  correct,  that  non- 
interference will  result  in  disaster,  too  grievous  to  be  borne,  which  will  be 
an  invasion  of  the  equal  freedom  of  adult  neighbors, — all  this  only  in  the 
case  of  physical  maltreatment.  On  this  ground  is  laid  down  the  general 
rule  that  mental  and  moral  maltreatment  of  children  by  parents  should  not 
be  met  by  neighbors  with  physical  force.  It  seems  obvious  to  me  that 
this  rule  cannot  be  -thus  justified  in  considering  the  case  of  physical  mal- 
treatment instanced  above,  and  the  following  case  of  mental-and-moral 
maltreatment :  A  parent,  with  the  intention  of  ruining  his  child's  future, 
surrounds  it  with  temptations  to  debauchery  such  as  will  assuredly  render 
it  imbecile,  if  it  survives  to  the  normal  age  of  maturity. — This  seems  to 
me  more  harmful  to  adult  neighbors  than  even  such  mutilation  as  an  eye 
put  out. 

To  put  my  thesis  most  directly,  I  claim  (I)  to  state  the  law  of  eq»al 
freedom  as  follows  : 

Every  individual  has  a  right  to  and  must  expect  the  results  of  his  own 

Cor.  I .   Every  individual  must  refrain  from  invading  his  neighbor's  rights. 

Cor.  2.  Every  child  has  a  right  to  such  sacrifice  on  the  part  of  its  parent 
as  will  enable  it  to  arrive  at  maturity. 

And  I  claim  (II)  that  it  is  Anarchistic  policy  to  use  physical  force  to 
prevent  transgressions  of  either  corollary  of  this  law,  where  such  trans- 
gressions are  clear  and  unmistakable.  The  Egoistic  basis  of  enforcing 
Cor.  2  is,  as  your  editorial  implies,  the  fact  that  its  violation  will  result  in 
shouldering  off  upon  others  some  unwelcome  consequence  of  the  parents' 
(propagative)  conduct. 

It  is  not  always  possible  to  apply  the  theoretical  deductions  of  science; 
but  that  need  not  deter  her  devotees  from  trying  to  state  and  prove,  as 
completely  as  possible,  the  results  of  science.  Here  we  are,  confronted 
by  the  "  Cimmerian  darkness"  of  one  of  the  most  important  problems  in 
social  ethics.  If  the  statement  of  Cor.  2  above  is  not  accurate,  I  ask  you, 
as  my  first  instructor  in  this  subject,  to  tell  me  where  it  is  inaccurate,  and 
why  :  if  it  is  accurate,  it  furnishes  a  basis  for  the  relation  between  Family 
and  Society  as  firm  and  clear  as  the  Law  of  Equal  Freedom  does  for  Soci- 
ety alone.  And  we  can  set  ourselves  calmly  to  write  down  the  particular 
equations  that  represent  the  several  phases  of  child-guardianship. 

G.  w.  K. 

My  friend  misapprehends  me.  When  the  interference  of 
third  parties  is  justifiable,  it  is  not  so  because  of  the  superior 

i46  INSTEAD   OF   A   BOOK. 

importance  of  the  child's  physical  integrity  as  compared  with 
that  of  the  parent  who  mutilates  himself,  but  because  the  child 
is  potentially  an  individual  sovereign.  The  man  who  muti- 
lates himself  does  not  impair  equal  freedom  in  the  slightest, 
but  the  parent  who  mutilates  his  child  assaults  a  being  which, 
though  still  limited  in  its  freedom  by  its  dependence,  is  daily 
growing  into  an  independence  which  will  establish  its  freedom 
on  an  equality  with  that  of  others.  In  this  doubtful  stage  the 
advisability  of  interference  is  to  be  decided  by  necessity,  since, 
so  far  as  we  can  see  at  present,  it  cannot  be  decided  Ijy  prin- 
ciple. It  is  necessary  to  stop  the  parent  from  cutting  off  his 
child's  finger,  because  the  danger  is  immediate  and  the  evil 
certain  and  irremediable.  It  is  not  necessary  to  prescribe  the 
conditions  of  virtue  with  which  a  parent  shall  surround  his 
child,  because  the  danger  is  remote  (it  being  possible  perhaps 
in  time  to  induce  the  parent  to  change  his  course),  the  evil  is 
uncertain  (the  child  often  proving  sufficiently  strong  in  char- 
acter to  rise  above  its  conditions),  and  the  results  are  not 
necessarily  permanent  (as  later  conditions  may  largely,  if  not 
entirely,  counteract  them).  In  the  former  case,  physical  force 
must  be  met  with  physical  force.  In  the  latter  case,  it  is  safer 
and  better  to  meet  moral  (or'  immoral)  force  with  moral  force. 
I  am  afraid  that  my  friend  is  not  yet  a  sufficiently  good  An- 
archist to  appreciate  the  full  significance  of  Proudhon's  decla- 
ration that  Liberty  is  the  Mother  of  Order,  and  the  importance 
of  securing  education  through  liberty  wherever  practicable 
instead  of  through  compulsion. 

I  do  not  think  that  my  friend's  formulas  are  capable  of  sci- 
entific treatment.  When  he  tells  me  that  "  every  individual 
has  a  right  to  and  must  expect  the  results  of  his  own  nature," 
he  lays  down  a  proposition  too  vague  for  the  purposes  of  sci- 
ence. I  do  not  know  what  the  words  mean,  and  in  any  case  I 
deny  the  alleged  right.  An  individual  has  a  right  to  the  results 
of  his  own  nature  if  he  can  get  them;  otherwise,  not.  Apart 
from  this  right  of  might,  no  individual  has  a  right  to  anything, 
except  as  he  creates  his  right  by  contract  with  his  neighbor. 


\Libcrty,  April  28,  1S88.] 

Have  I  made  a  mistake  in  my  Anarchism,  or  has  the  editor  of  Liberty 
himself  tripped  ?    At  any  rate,  I  must  challenge  the  Anarchism  of  one 


sentence  in  his  otherwise  masterful  paper  upon  "State  Socialism  and 
Anarchism."  If  I  am  wrong,  I  stand  open  to  conviction.  It  is  this: 
"  They  [Anarchists]  look  forward  to  a  time  .  .  .  when  the  children  born 
of  these  relations  shall  belong  exclusively  to  the  mothers  until  old  enough 
to  belong  to  themselves." 

Now,  that  looks  to  me  like  an  authoritarian  statement  that  is  in  oppo- 
sition to  theoretical  Anarchy,  and  also  to  nature.  What  is  the  matter 
with  leaving  the  question  of  the  control  of  those  children  to  their  two 
parents,  to  be  settled  between  them, — allowing  them  to  decide  whether 
both,  or  only  one,  and  which  one,  shall  have  control? 

I  may  be  wrong,  but  it  seems  to  me  extremely  un-Anarchistic  to  thus 
bring  up  an  extraneous,  authoritarian,  moral  obligation,  and  use  it  to 
stifle  an  instinct  which  nature  is  doing  her  best  to  develop. 

I  would  like  to  know  whether  the  editor  of  Liberty  momentarily  forgot 
his  creed  that  we  must  follow  our  natural  desires,  or  if  I  have  misunder- 
stood his  statement,  or  misapplied  my  own  Anarchy. 

Paternal  love  of  offspring  is,  with  a  few  exceptions,  a  comparatively 
late  development  in  the  evolution  of  the  animal  world,  so  late  that  there 
are  tribes  of  the  order  of  man,  and  individuals  even  among  civilized  na- 
tions, in  whom  it  is  not  found.  But  the  fact  that  it  is  a  late  development 
shows  that  it  is  going  to  develop  still  more.  And  under  the  eased  eco- 
nomical conditions  which  Anarchy  hopes  to  bring  about,  it  would  burst 
forth  with  still  greater  power.  Is  it  wise  to  attempt  to  stifle  that  feeling 
— as  it  would  Ije  stifled — by  the  sweeping  statement  that  its  object  should 
belong  to  some  one  else  ?  Maternal  love  of  offspring  beautifies  the 
woman's  character,  broadens  and  enriches  her  intellect.  And  as  far  as  I 
have  observed,  paternal  feeling,  if  it  is  listened  to,  indulged,  and  devel- 
oped, has  an  equally  good,  though  not  just  the  same,  effect  upon  the 
man's  mind.  Should  he  be  deprived  of  all  this  good  by  having  swept  out 
of  his  hands  all  care  for  his  children,  and  out  of  his  heart  all  feeling  that 
they  are  his,  by  being  made  to  feel  that  they  "belong  exclusively  to  the 
mother"?  It  seems  to  me  much  more  reasonable,  much  more  natural, 
and  very  much  more  Anarchistic,  to  say  that  the  child  of  Anarchistic 
parents  belongs  to  both  of  them,  if  they  both  wish  to  have  united  con- 
trol of  it,  and,  if  they  don't  wish  this,  that  they  can  settle  between  them- 
selves as  to  which  one  should  have  it.  The  question  is  one,  I  think,  that 
could  usually  be  settled  amicably.  But  if  some  unusual  occasion  were  to 
arise  when  all  efforts  to  settle  it  amicably  were  to  fail,  when  both  parents 
would  strongly  desire  the  child  and  be  equally  competent  to  rear  it,  then, 
possibly,  the  fact  that  the  mother  has  suffered  the  pain  of  child-birth 
might  give  her  a  little  the  stronger  right.  But  I  do  not  feel  perfectly 
sure  that  that  principle  is  right  and  just. 

I  would  like  to  know  if  Mr.  Tucker,  upon  further  consideration,  does 
not  agree  with  me. 

F.  F.  K. 

I  accept  F.  F.  K.'s  challenge,  and,  in  defence  of  the  An- 
archism of  the  sentence  objected  to,  I  offer  to  submit  the 
language  in  vjrhich  it  is  phrased  to  any  generally  recognized 
authority  in  English,  for  the  discovery  of  any  authoritarian 
meaning  possibly  therein  contained.  F.  F.  K.  seems  to  mis- 
understand the  use  of  the  word  "shall."  Now,  it  may  be 
ascertained  from  any  decent  dictionary  or  grammar  that  this 

148  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

auxiliary  is  employed,  not  alone  in  the  language  of  command, 
but  also  in  the  language  of  prophecy.  Suppose  I  had  said  that 
the  Anarchists  look  forward  to  a  time  when  all  men  shall  be 
honest.  Would  F.  F.  K.  have  suspected  me  of  desiring  or 
predicting  a  decree  to  that  effect?  I  hardly  think  so.  The 
conclusion  would  simply  have  been  that  I  regarded  honesty  as 
destined  to  be  accepted  by  mankind,  at  some  future  period,  in 
the  shaping  of  their  lives.  Why,  then,  should  it  be  inferred 
from  similar  phraseology  in  regard  to  the  control  of  children 
that  I  anticipate  anything  more  than  a  general  recognition,  in 
the  absence  of  contract,  of  the  mother's  superior  claim,  and  a 
refusal  on  the  part  of  defensive  associations  to  protect  any 
other  claim  than  hers  in  cases  of  dispute  not  guarded  against 
by  specific  contract  ?  That  is  all  that  I  meant,  and  that  is  all 
that  my  language  implies.  The  language  of  prophecy  doubt- 
less had  its  source  in  authority,  but  to-day  the  idea  of  author- 
ity is  so  far  disconnected  from  the  prophetic  form  that  philos- 
ophers and  scientists  who,  reasoning  from  accepted  data,  use 
this  form  in  mapping  out  for  a  space  the  cours?  of  evolution 
are  not  therefore  accused  of  designs  to  impose  their  sovereign 
wills  upon  the  human  race.  The  editor  oi  Liberty  respectfully 
submits  that  he,  too,  may  sometimes  resort  to  the  oracular 
style  which  the  best  English  writers  not  unfrequently  employ  in 
speaking  of  futurity,  without  having  it  imputed  to  him  on  that 
account  that  he  professes  to  speak  either  from  a  throne  or 
from  a  tripod. 

As  to  the  charge  of  departure  from  the  Anarchistic  prin- 
ciple, it  may  be  preferred,  I  think,  against  F.  F.  K.  with  much 
more  reason  than  against  me.  To  vest  the  control  of  any- 
thing indivisible  in  more  than  one  person  seems  to  me  decid- 
edly communistic.  I  perfectly  agree  that  parents  must  be 
allowed  to  "  decide  whether  both,  or  only  one,  and  which  one, 
shall  have  control."  But  if  they  are  foolish  enough- to  decide 
that  both  shall  control,  the  affair  is  sure  to  end  in  government. 
Contract  as  they  may  in  advance  that  both  shall  control,  really 
no  question  of  control  arises  until  they  disagree,  and  then  it  is 
a  logical  impossibility  for  both  to  control.  One  of  the  two  will 
then  control ;  or  else  there  will  be  a  compromise,  in  which  case 
each  will  be  controlled,  just  as  the  king  who  makes  conces- 
sions governs  and  is  governed,  and  as  the  members  of  a  de- 
mocracy govern  and  are  governed.  ■  Liberty  and  individualism 
are  lost  sight  of  entirely. 

I  rejoice  to  know  that  the  tendency  of  evolution  is  towards 
the  increase  of  paternal  love,  it  being  no  part  of  my  intention 
to  abolish,  stifle,  or  ignore  that  highly  commendable  emotion. 


I  expect  its  influence  in  the  future  upon  both  child  and  parent 
to  be  far  greater  and  better  than  it  ever  has  been  in  the  past. 
Upon  the  love  of  both  father  and  mother  for  their  offspring  I 
chiefly  rely  for  that  harmonious  co-operation  in  the  guidance 
of  their  children's  lives  which  is  so  much  to  be  desired.  But 
the  important  question,  so  far  as  Anarchy  is  concerned,  is  to 
whom  this  guidance  properly  belongs  when  such  co-operation 
has  proved  impossible.  If  that  question  is  not  settled  in  ad- 
vance by  contract,  it  will  have  to  be  settled  by  arbitration,  and 
the  board  of  arbitration  will  be  expected  to  decide  in  accord- 
ance with  some  principle.  In  my  judgment  it  will  be  recog- 
nized that  the  control  of  children  is  a  species  of  property,  and 
that  the  superior  labor  t'tie  of  the  mother  will  secure  her  right 
to  the  guardianship  of  her  children  unless  she  freely  signs  it 
away.  With  my  present  light,  if  I  were  on  such  a:  board  of 
arbitration,  my  vote  would  be  for  the  mother  every  time. 

For  this  declaration  many  of  the  friends  of  woman's  eman- 
cipation (F.  F.  K.,  hqwever,  not  am'ong  them)  are  ready  to 
abuse  me  roundly.  I  had  expected  their  approval  rather.  For 
years  in  their  conventions  I  have  seen  this  "  crowning  out- 
rage," that  woman  is  denied  the  control  and  keeping  of  her 
children,  reserved  by  them  to  be  brought  forward  as  a  coup  de 
grace  for  the  annihilation  of  some  especially  obstinate  oppo- 
nent. Now  this  control  and  keeping  I  grant  her  unreservedly, 
and,  lo!  I  am  a  cursed  thing  ! 


{Liberty,  March  10, 1888.] 

With  a  plentiful  sprinkling  of  full-face  Gothic  exclamation 
points  and  a  series  of  hysterical  shrieks,  the  J^ournal  of  Unitei, 
Labor,  organ  of  pious  Powderly  and  pure  Litchman,  rushes 
upon  Liberty  with  the  inquiry  whether  "Anarchy  asks  liberty 
to  ruin  little  girls."  Liberty  is  thus  questioned  simply  because 
it  characterized  those  who  petitioned  the  Massachusetts  leg- 
islature for  a  further  raise  of  the  ''  age  of  consent  "  to  sixteen 
as  "  a  bevy  of  impertinent  and  prudish  women."  The  answer 
shall  be  direct  and  explicit.  Anarchy  does  not  ask  liberty  to 
ruin  little  girls,  but  it  does  ask  liberty  of  sexual  association 
with  girls  already  several  years  past  the  age  of  womanhood, 
equipped  by  nature  with  the  capacity  of  maternity,  and  even 
acknowledged  by  the  law  to  be  competent  to  marry  and  begin 

15°  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

the  rearing  of  a  family.  To  hold  a  man  whose  association 
with  such  a  girl  has  been  sanctioned  by  her  free  consent  and 
even  her  ardent  desire  guilty  of  the  crime  of  rape  and  to  sub- 
ject him  to  life  imprisonment  is  an  outrage  to  which  a  whole 
font  of  exclamation  points  would  do  scant  justice.  If  there 
are  any  mothers,  as  the  y^ournal  of  United  Labor  pretends,  who 
look  upon  such  an  outrage  as  a  protection  against  outrage, 
they  confess  thereby  not  only  their  callous  disregard  of  human 
rights,  but  the  imbecility  of  their  daughters  and  their  own  re- 
sponsibility for  the  training  that  has  allowed  them  to  grow  up 
in  imbecility.  "  Has  Liberty  a  daughter  ?  "  further  inquires  the 
y^ournal  of  United  Labor.  Why,  certainly;  Order  is  Liberty's 
daughter,  acknowledged  as  such  from  the  first.  "  Liberty  not 
the  daughter,  but  the  mother,  of  Order."  But  it  is  needless  to 
raise  the."  age  of  consent"  on  account  of  Liberty's  daughter. 
Order  fears  no  seducer.  When  all  daughters  have  such  moth- 
ers and  all  mothers  such  daughters,  the  'yoiirnal  of  United 
Labor  may  continue  to  jegard  them  as  the  "  worst  of  woman- 
kind," but  the  powers  of  the  seducer  will  be  gone,  no  matter 
what  may  be  fixed  as  the  "  age  of  consent."  Because  Liberty 
holds  this  opinion  and  expresses  it,  Powderly  and  Litchman 
profess  to  consider  her  a  "  disgrace  to  the  press  of  America." 
Really  they  do  not  so  look  upon  her,  but  they  are  very  anxious 
to  win  .popular  approval  by  pandering  to  popular  prejudices, 
and  so  they  took  advantage  of  the  opportunity  which  Liberty's 
words  gave  them  to  pose  as  champions  of  outraged  virtue 
while  endeavoring  to  identify  Anarchism  with  wholesale  rape 
of  the  innocents. 


{Liberty,  November  5,  1887.] 

A  QUESTION  has  arisen  in  England  whether  the  public  have 
a  right  of  access  to  the  top  of  Latrigg  in  Keswick  Vale,  the 
public  claiming  such  right  and  certain  landowners  denying 
it.  It  is  probable  that  the  claim  of  the  public  is  good,  but,  as 
I  am  not  informed  regarding  the  basis  of  the  landholders' 
title  in  this  particular  case,  it  is  not  my  purpose  to  discuss  the 
matter.  The  London  Jus,  however,  has  discussed  the  matter, 
and  I  refer  to  it  only  to  expose  an  inconsistency  into  which 
that  journal  has  fallen.  It  seems  that  Mr.  Plimsoll,  who 
champions  the  claim  of  the  public,  has  made  this  declaration : 


"  What    Parliament   has    given  Parliament  can    take   away." 
Not  rightly,  declares  Jus  j  and  it  imagines  a  case. 

Suppose  Parliament  grants  a  life-pension  to  a  distinguished  general  ; 
suppose  the  next  Parliament,  being  of  another  color,  rejects  the  grant,  will 
Mr.  Plimsoll  pretend  that  in  such  a  case  Parliament  would  have  the  right 
to  take  it  away?  Not  he  ;  no  honest  man  could  think  so  for  a  moment. 
Private  persons  do  not  consider  themselves  entitled  to  take  back  that 
which  they  have  given  to  others,  even  without  any  consideration  whatever. 

True,  so  far  as  private  persons  are  concerned.  But  private 
persons  do  consider  themselves  entitled  to  take  back  that 
which  has  been  taken  from  them  and  given  to  others.  If  the 
body  politic,  or  State,  which  compels  A  to  belong  to  it  and 
aid  in  supporting  it,  pledges  a  certain  sum  annually  to  B,  and, 
to  meet  this  pledge,  forcibly  collects  annually  from  A  a  pro- 
portional part  of  the  sum,  then  A,  when  he  becomes  strong 
enough,  may  not  only  decline  to  make  any  further  annual 
payments  to  B,  but  may  take  from  B  all  that  he  has  been 
compelled  to  pay  to  him  in  the  past.  To-day,  to  be  sure,  A, 
as  soon  as  he  acquires  power,  generally  vitiates  his  claim 
upon  B  by  proceeding  to  pledge  others  in  the  same  manner 
in  which  others,  when  they  were  in  power,  had  pledged  him. 
But  this  fact,  being  accidental  rather  than  essential,  has  no 
logical  bearing  upon  the  question  of  A's  right  to  recover  from 
B.  It  follows,  then,  that  private,  persons  cannot  be  held  to 
the  pledges  of  an  association  which  forces  them  into  its  mem- 
bership, and  that  Parliament,  which  represents  the  will  of  a 
majority  of  the  members  of  such  an  association,  and  of  a 
majority  which  necessarily  varies  continually  in  its  make-up, 
stands  on  a  very  different  footing  from  that  of  private  persons 
fn  the  matter  of  observing  or  violating  contracts. 

But  suppose  the  position  of  Jus  that  they  stand  on  the 
same  footing  to  be  granted.  What  has  Jus  to  say  then  ? 
This, — namely,  that  it  finds  itself  in  sympathy  with  Mr.  Plim- 
soll and  the  people  of  Keswick  in  their  desire  to  enjoy  the 
beautiful  scenery  of  Latrigg ;  that  it  believes  the  right  of 
way  to  such  enjoyment  was  originally  theirs  ;  and  that  the 
sooner  they  recover  it,  the  better.  But  how  ?  It  has  already 
denied  that  "  what  Parliament  has  given  Parliament  can  take 
away  "  ;  so  it  finds  itself  obliged  to  pick  its  way  around  this 
difficulty  by  the  following  devious  path  : 

If  Parliament  has  given  away  to  private  persons  that  which  ought  to 
have  been  retained  in  public  hands  for  the  public  use  and  benefit,  with  or 
without  sufficient  (or  any)  consideration,  then  lei  the  Natipn  keef  faith 
Q,nd  buy  it  back.  . 

152  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

The  italics  are  mine.  Bearing  them  in  mind,  let  us  return 
to  the  analogy  between  Parliament  and  private  persons.  Do 
private  persons,  then,  consider  themselves  entitled  to  buy  back 
that  which  they  have  given  to  others,  on  terms  fixed  by  them- 
selves, and  whether  the  others  desire  to  sell  or  net  ?  That  the 
private  person  who  gives  a  thing  to  another  and  afterwards 
compels  the  latter  to  sell  it  back  to  him  is  less  a  thief  than  he 
would  have  been  if  he  had  taken  it  back  without  compensa- 
tion is  a  principle  unrecognized,  so  far  as  I  know,  either  in 
law  or  in  political  economy.  No  more  can  be  said  of  such  a 
robber  than  that  he  shows  some  considetation  for  his  victim. 
Then,  if  Parliament  and  private  persons  stand  on  the  same 
footing,  whence  does  Jus  derive  the  right  of  Parliament  to 
forcibly  buy  back  what  it  has  given  away  ? 

Jus  is  a  fine  paper.  It  maintains  certain  phases  of  Individ- 
ualism with  splendid  force  and  vigor.  But  it  continually  puts 
itself  into  awkward  situations  simply  by  failing  to  be  thorough 
in  its  Individualism.  Here,  for  instance,  it  denies  the  right  of 
the  State  to  take  from  the  individual  without  compensation 
what  it  has  given  him,  but  affirms  the  right  of  the  State  to 
compel  the  individual  to  sell  to  it  what  it  has  given  him.  In 
a  word,  Jus  is  not  Anarchistic.  It  does  not  favor  individual 
liberty  in  all  things.  It  would  confine  interference  with  it 
within  much  narrower  limits  than  those  generally  set  by 
governmentalists,  but,  after  all,  like  all  other  governmentalists, 
it  fixes  the  limits  in  accordance  with  arbitrary  standards  pre- 
scribing that  interference  must  be  carried  on  only  by  methods 
and  for  purposes  which  it  approves  on  grounds  foreign  to  the 
belief  in  liberty  as  the  necessary  condition  of  social  harmony. 


^Liberty ^  December  3,  1887.] 

London  Jus  does  not  see  clearly  in  the  matter  of  boycott- 
ing. "  Every  man,"  it  says,  "  has  a  perfect  right  to  refuse  to 
hold  intercourse  with  any  other  man  or  class  from  whom  he 
chooses  to  keep  aloof.  But  where  does  liberty  come  in  when 
several  persons  conspire  together  to  put  pressure  upon  another 
to  induce  or  coerce  him  (by  threats  expressed  or  implied)  to  re- 
frain also  from  intercourse  with  the  boycotted  man?  It  is  not 
that  the  boycotted  man  has  grounds  of  legal  complaint  against 
those  who  voluntarily  put  him  in  Coventry.     His  complaint  is 


against  those  who  compel  (under  whatsoever  sanction)  third 
persons  to  do  likewise.  Surely  the  distinction  is  specific." 
Specific,  yes,  but  not  rational.  The  line  of  real  distinction 
does  not  run  in  the  direction  which  Jus  tries  to  give  it.  Its 
course  does  not  lie  between  the  second  person  and  a  third 
person,  but  between  the  threats  of  invasion  and  the  threats  of 
ostracism  by  which  either  the  second  or  a  third  person  is  co- 
erced or  induced.  All  boycotting,  no  matter  of  what  person, 
consists  either  in  the  utterance  of  a  threat  or  in  its  execution. 
A  man  has  a  right  to  threaten  what  he  has  a  right  to  execute. 
The  boundary-line  of  justifiable  boycotting  is  fixed  by  the 
nature  of  the  threat  used.  B  and  C,  laborers,  are  entitled  to 
quit  buying  shoes  of  A,  a  manufacturer,  for  any  reason  what- 
ever or  for  no  reason  at  all.  Therefore  they  are  entitled  to 
say  to  A  :  "  If  you  do  not  discharge  the  non-union  men  in 
your  employ,  we  will  quit  buying  shoes  of  you."  Similarly 
they  are  entitled  to  quit  buying  clothes  of  D,  a  tailor.  There- 
fore they  are  entitled  to  say  to  D  :  "  If  you  do  not  co-operate 
with  us  in  endeavoring  to  induce  A  to  discharge  his  non-union 
employees, — that  is,  if  you  do  not  quit  buying  shoes  of  him, — 
we  will  quit  buying  clothes  of  you."  But  B  and  C  are  not 
entitled  to  burn  A's  shop  or  D's  shop.  Hence  they  are  not 
entitled  to  say  to  A  that  they  will  burn  his  shop  unless  he  dis- 
charges his  non-union  employees,  or  to  D  that  they  will  burn 
his  shop  unless  he  withdraws  his  patronage  from  A.  Is  it  not 
clear  that  the  rightful  attitude  of  B  and  C  depends  wholly 
upon  the  question  whether  or  not  the  attitude  is  invasive  in 
itself,  and  not  at  all  upon  the  question  whether  the  object  of  it 
is  A  or  D? 


'{Liberty,  February.ii,  1888.] 

One  word  as  to  boycotting  itself.  Jus  war>  some  weeks  ago  taken  to 
task  by  the  Boston  Liberty  for  incorrectly  defining  the  term.  "  The  line 
of  distinction,"  says  Liberty,  "does  not  run  in  the  direction  which  y»j 
tries  to  give  it.  Its  course  does  not  lie.  between  the  second  person  and  a 
third  person,  but  between  the  threats  of  invasion  and  the  threats  of  ostra- 
cism by  which  either  the  second  or  a  third  person  is  coerced  or  induced. 
All  boycotting,  no  matter  of  what  person,  consists  either  in  the  utterance 
of  a  threat  or  in  its  execution.  A  man  has  a  right  to  threaten  what  he  has 
a  right  to  execute.  The  boundary-line  of  justifiable  boycotting  is  fixed  by 
the  nature  of  the  threat  used."  This  seems  reasonable  enough,  and. 
until  we  s?e  the  contrary  proved,  we  shall  accept  this  view  in  preference 

154  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

to  that  which  we  have  put  forward  hitherto.  At  the  same  time,  we  are 
not  so  absolutely  convinced  of  its  soundness  as  to  close  our  eyes  to  the 
fact  that  there  may  be  a  good  deal  said  on  the  other  side.  The  doctrine 
of  conspiracy  enters  in.  That  which  may  not  be  illegal  or  even  wrong  in 
one  person  becomes  both  illegal  and  morally  wrong  in  a  crowd  of  persons. 
— -Jus. 

Liberty  would  be  unfair  to  Jus  if  it  should  not  present 
the  evidence  of  that  journal's  fairness  by  printing  its  hand- 
some acknowledgment  of  error  regarding  boycotting.  Jus  still 
thinks,  however,  that  something  may  be  said  on  the  other  side, 
and  declares  that  there  are  some  things  that  one  person  may 
rightfully  do  which  become  illegal  and  immoral  when  done  by 
a  crowd.  I  should  like  to  have  Jus  give  an  instance.  There 
are  some  invasive  acts  or  threats  which  cannot  be  executed  by 
individuals,  but  require  crowds — or  conspiracies,  if  you  will — 
for  their  accomplishment.  But  the  guilt  still  arises  from  the 
invasive  character  of  the  act,  and  not  from  the  fact  of  con- 
spiracy. No  individual  has  a  right  to  do  any  act  which  is 
invasive,  but  any  number  of  individuals  may  rightfully  "  con- 
spire" to  commit  any  act  which  is  non-invasive.  Jus  ac- 
knowledges the  force  of  Liberty's  argument  that  A  may  as 
properly  boycott  C  as  B.  Further  consideration,  I  think,  will 
compel  it  to  acknowledge  that  A  and  B  combined  may  as 
properly  boycott  C  as  may  A  alone  or  B  alone. 


\_Liberty^  August  13,  1887.] 

The  authority  of  learning,  the  tyranny  of  science,  which 
Bakounine  foresaw,  deprecated,  and  denounced,  never  found 
blunter  expression  than  in  an  article  by  T.  B.  Wakeman  in 
the  August  number  of  the  Freethinkers'  Magazine  in  which 
the  writer  endeavors  to  prove,  on  scientific  grounds  alone, 
that  alcohol  is  an  unmitigated  evil,  a  poison  that  ought  never 
to  be  taken  into  the  human  system.  My  knowledge  of  chem- 
istry and  physiology  is  too  limited  to  enable  me  to  judge  of 
the  scientific  soundness  of  the  attempted  demonstration  ;  but 
I  do  know  that  it  is  admirably  well  written,  wonderfully  at- 
tractive, powerfully  plausible,  important  if  true,  and  there- 
fore worthy  of  answer  by  those  who  alone  are  competent  to 
answer  it  if  it  can  be  answered.  Such  an  answer  I  hope  to 
see  ;  and,  if  it  arrives,  I  shall  weigh  it  against  Mr,  Wakeman's 

THE    INClVIUtJAL,    SOCIETY,    ANE)    THE    STATE.  155 

argument,  award  a  verdict  for  myself,  and  act  upon  it  for  my- 
self,— if  I  am  allowed  to  do  so. 

But  it  is  plain  that,  if  Mr.  Wakeman's  party  gets  into  power, 
no  such  privilege  will  be  granted  me.  For,  after  having  as- 
serted most  positively  that  this  "  verdict  of  science  "  can  be 
made  so  manifest  that  it  will  become  a  "personal  prohibition 
law,  which  no  person  in  his  senses  would  violate  any  more  than 
he  would  cut  his  own  throat,"  in  which  case  its  compulsory  en- 
forcement will  be  entirely  unnecessary  except  upon  persons  out 
of  their  senses,  Mr.  Wakeman  goes  on  to  say  that  it  is  the  duty 
of  the  lawyers  (of  whom  he  is  one)  to  see  to  it  that  the  manu- 
facture, sale,  and  use  of  alcohol  as  a  beverage  shall  be  out- 
lawed, proscribed,  and  prohibited  just  as  arsenic  is,  and  that, 
like  arsenic,  it  shall  be  sold  only  as  a  labelled  poison.  Rather 
a  summary  way,  it  seems  to  me,  of  cramming  science  down  the 
throats  of  people  who  like  a  glass  of  claret  better  I  "Ah  !  " 
some  reader  will  say,  "  you  forget  that  this  compulsory  absti- 
nence is  only  to  be  enforced  upon  people  out  of  their  senses, 
probably  hopeless  sots  who  are  a  public  danger." 

This  consideration  possibly  would  afford  a  grain  of  consola- 
tion, had  not  Mr.  Wakeman  taken  pains  in  another  paragraph 
to  leave  no  one  in  doubt  as  to  the  meaning  of  the  phrase  "  in 
his  senses."  It  is  not  applicable,  he  declares,  to  any  drinker 
of  alcohol  who  claims  to  "  know  when  he  has  enough,"  for 
"  that  very  remark  shows  that  alcohol  has  already  stolen  away 
his  brains."  His  position,  then,  is  that  the  law  of  total  absti- 
nence will  enforce  itself  upon  all  men  in  their  senses,  for  no 
man  in  his  senses  will  drink  alcohol  after  hearing  the  verdict 
of  science  ;  but  that  men  who  drink  alcohol,  however  moder- 
ately, are  out  of  their  senses,  and  must  be  "  treated,  by  force 
if  necessary,  as  diseased  lunatics." 

Was  any  priest,  any  pope,  any  czar  ever  guilty  of  teaching 
a  more  fanatical,  more  bigoted,  more  tyrannical  doctrine  ? 

Does  Mr.  Wakeman  imagine  that  he  can  restore  men  to 
their  senses  by  any  such  disregard  of  their  individualities  ? 

Does  he  think  that  the  way  to  strengthen  the  individual's 
reason  and  will  is  to  force  them  into  disuse  by  substituting  for 
them  the  reason  and  will  of  a  body  of  savants  ? 

In  that  case  I  commend  him  to  the  words  of  Bakounine  : 
"  A  society  which  should  obey  legislation  emanating  from  a  sci- 
entific academy,  not  because  it  understood  itself  the  rational 
character  of  this  legislation  (in  which  case  the  existence  of 
the  academy  would  become  useless),  but  because  this  legisla- 
tion, emanating  from  the  academy,  was  imposed  in  the  name 
of  a  science  which  it  venerated  without  comprehending, — such 

J56  INSTEAt)    OP    A    BOOK. 

a  society  would  be  a  society,  not  of  men,  but  of  brutes.  It 
would  be  a  second  edition  of  those  missions  in  Paraguay  which 
submitted  so  long  to  the  government  of  the  Jesuits.  It  would 
surely  and  rapidly  descend  to  the  lowest  stage  of  idiocy." 

The  mightiest  foe  of  the  human  mind  is  not  alcohol,  by 
any  means.  It  is  that  spirit  of  arrogance  which  prompts  the 
conclusion  of  Mr.  Wakeman's  essay,  and  which,  encouraged, 
would  induce  a  mental  paralysis  far  more  universal  and  far 
more  hopeless  than  any  that  science  will  ever  be  able  to  trace 
,to  the  spirit  of  alcohol. 


{^Liberiy,  August  30,  1890.] 

Since  the  execution  of  Kemmler,  I  have  seen  it  stated  re- 
peatedly in  the  press,  and  especially  in  the  reform  press,  and 
even  in  the  Anarchistic  press,  that  that  execution  was  a  mur- 
der. I  have  also  seen  it  stated  that  capital  punishment  is 
murder  in  its  worst  form.  I  should  like  to  know  upon  what 
principle  of  human  society  these  assertions  are  based  and 

If  they  are  based  on  the  principle  that  punishment  inflicted 
by  a  compulsory  institution  which  manufactures  the  criminals 
is  worse  than  the  crime  punished,  I  can  understand  them  ahd 
in  some  degree  sympathize  with  them.  But  in  that  case  I 
cannot  see  why  fa//^a/ punishment  should  be  singled  out  for 
emphatic  and  exceptional  denunciation.  The  same  objection 
applies  as  clearly  to  punishment  that  simply  takes  away  liberty 
as  to  punishment  that  takes  away  life. 

The  use  of  the  word  capital  makes  me  suspect  that  this  de- 
nunciation rests  on  some  other  ground  than  tnat  which  I  have 
just  suggested.     But  what  is  this  ground  ? 

If  society  has  a  right  to  protect  itself  against  such  men  as 
Kemmler,  as  is  admitted,  why  may  it  not  do  so  in  whatever 
way  proves  most  effective  ?  If  it  is  urged  that  capital  punish- 
ment is  not  the  most  effective  way,  such  an  argument,  well 
sustained  by  facts,  is  pertinent  and  valid.  This  position  also 
I  can  understand,  and  with  it,  if  not  laid  down  as  too  absolute 
a  rule,  I  sympathize.  But  this  is  not  to  say  that  the  society 
which  inflicts  capital  punishment  commits  murder.  Murder 
is  an  offensive  act.  The  term  cannot  be  applied  legitimately 
to  any  defensive  act.     And  capital  punishment,  however  in- 

tHE    IHDiViiDtlAL,    SOCtETV,    AND    THfe    STATE.  I^^ 

effective  it  may  be  and  through  whatever  ignorance  it  may  be 
resorted  to,  is  a  strictly  defensive  act, — at  least  in  theory.  Of 
course  compulsory  institutions  often  make  it  a  weapon  of 
offence,  but  that  does  not  affect  the  question  of  capital  punish- 
ment/^r  se  as  distinguished  from  other  forms  of  punishment. 
For  one,  I  object  to  this  distinction  unless  it  is  based  on  ra- 
tional grounds.  In  doing  so,  I  am  not  moved  by  any  desire 
to  defend  the  horrors  of  the  gallows,  the  guillotine,  or  the 
electric  chair.  They  are  as  repulsive  to  me  as  to  any  one. 
And  the  conduct  of  the  physicians,  the  ministers,  the  news- 
papers, and  the  officials  disgusts  me.  These  horrors  all  tell 
most  powerfully  against  the  expediency  and  efficiency  of  .cap- 
ital punishment.  But  nevertheless  they  do  not  make  it  murder. 
I  insist  that  there  is  nothing  sacred  in  the  life  of  an  invader, 
and  there  is  no  valid  principle  of  human  society  that  forbids 
the  invaded  to  protect  themselves  in  whatever  way  they  can. 


\_Lideriy,  November  12, 1892,] 

A  Promise,  according  to  the  common  acceptation  of  the  term,  is  a 
binding  declaration  made  by  one  person  to  another  to  do,  or  not  to  do,  a 
certain  act  at  some  future  time.  According  to  this  definition,  there  can, 
I  think,  be  no  place  for  a  promise  in  a  harmonious,  progressive  world. 
Promises  and  progress  are  incompatible,  unless  all  the  parties  are,  at  all 
times,  as  free  to  break  them  as  they  were  to  make  them  ;  and  this  admis- 
sion eliminates  the  binding  element,  and,  therefore,  destroys  the  popular 
meaning  of  a  promise. 

In  a  progressive  world  we  know  more  to-morrow  fhan  we  know  to-day. 
Also  harmdny  implies  absence  of  external  coercion  ;  for,  all  coercion 
being  social  discord,  a  promise  that  appears  just  and  feels  agreeable 
when  measured  with  to-day's  knowledge  may  appear  unjust  and  become 
disagreeable  when  measured  with  the  standard  of  to-morrow's  knowl- 
edge ;  and  in  so  far  as  the  fulfilment  of  a  promise  becomes  disagreeable 
or  impossible,  it  is  an  element  of  discord,  and  discord  is  the  opposite  of 
harmony.  H.  Olerich,  Jr. 

HoLSTEiN,  Iowa. 

But  it  is  equally  true,  my  good  friend,  that  the  non-fulfil- 
ment of  a  promise  is  disagreeable  to  the  promisee,  and  in  so 
far  it  is  an  element  of  discord,  and  discord  is  the  opposite  of 
harmony.  You  need  noi:  look  for  harmony  until  people  are 
disposed  to  be  harmonious.  But  justice,  or  a  close  approxi- 
mation thereto,  can  be  secured  even  from  ill-disposed  peo- 
ple.    I  have  no  doubt  of  the  right  of  any  man  to  whom,  for  a 

158  INSTEAD    OF   A    BOOK. 

consideration,  a  promise  has  been  made,  to  insist,  even  by 
force,  upon  the  fulfilment  of  that  promise,  provided  the  pro- 
mise be  not  one  whose  fulfilment  would  invade  third  parties. 
And  if  the  promisee  has  a  right  to  use  force  himself  for  such 
a  purpose,  he  has  a  right  to  secure  such  co-operative  force 
from  others  as  they  are  willing  to  extend.  These  others,  in 
turn,  have  a  right  to  decide  what  sort  of  promises,  if  any,  they 
will  help  him  to  enforce.  When  it  comes  to  the  determi- 
nation of  this  point,  the  question  is  one  of  policy  solely;  and 
very  likely  it  will  be  found  that  the  best  way  to  secure  the 
fulfilment  of  promises  is  to  have  it  understood  in  advance 
that  the  fulfilment  is  not  to  be  enforced.  But  as  a  matter  of 
justice  and  liberty,  it  must  always  be  remembered  that  a 
promise  is  a  two-sided  affair.  And  in  our  anxiety  to  leave  the 
promisor  his  liberty,  we  must  not  forget  the  superior  right  of 
the  promisee.  I  say  superior,  because  the  man  who  fulfils  a 
promise,  however  unjust  the  contract,  acts  voluntarily,  where- 
as the  man  who  has  received  a  promise  is  defrauded  by  its  non- 
fulfilment,  invaded,  deprived  of  a  portion  of  his  liberty  against 
his  will. 


Bullion  thinks  that  "  civilization  consists  in  teaching  men 
to  govern  themselves  and  then  letting  them  do  it."  A  very 
slight  change  suffices  to  make  this  stupid  statement  an  en- 
tirely accurate  one,  after  which  it  would  read  :  "  Civilization 
consists  in  teaching  men  to  govern  themselves  by  letting  them 
do  it." — Liberty,  August  20, 1881. 

People  in  general,  and  the  governmental  Socialists  in  par- 
ticular, think  they  see  a  new  argument  in  favor  of  their 
beloved  State  in  the  assistance  which  it  is  rendering  to  the 
suffering  and  starving  victims  of  the  Mississippi  inundation. 
Well,  such  work  is  better  than  forging  new  chains  to  keep  the 
people  in  subjection,  we  allow  ;  but  it  is  not  worth  the  price 
that  is  paid  for  it.  The  people  cannot  afford  to  be  enslaved 
for  the  sake  of  being  insured.  If  there  were  no  other  alterna- 
tive, they  would  do  better,  on  the  whole,  to  take  Nature's  risks 
and  pay  her  penalties  as  best  they  might.  But  Liberty  supplies 
another  alternative,  find  furnishes  better  insurance  at  cheaper 
rates.  The  philosophy  of  voluntary  mutualism  is  universal  in 
its  application,  not  omitting  the  victims  of  natural  disaster. 


Mutual  banking,  by  the  organization  of  credit,  will  secure  the 
greatest  possible  production  of  wealth  and  its  most  equitable 
distribution  ;  and  mutual  insurance,  by  the  organization  of 
risk,  will  do  the  utmost  that  can  be  done  to  mitigate  and 
equalize  the  suffering  arising  from  its  accidental  destruction. 
— Liberty,  April  i,  1882. 

Democracy  has  been  defined  as  the  principle  that  "  one  man 
is  as  good  as  another,  if  not  a  little  better."     Anarchy  may  be 
defined  as  the  principle  that  one  government    is  as   bad   as 
'  another,  if  not  a  little  worse. — Liberty,  May  12,  1883. 

In  a  lecture  in  Milwaukee  a  short  time  ago  Clara  Neyman 
of  New  York  said  that  "if  women  could  have  the  right  to 
vote,  they  would  devise  better  means  of  reform  than  those  lof 
narrow  prohibition."  Yes,  indeed  ;  there  would  be  nothing 
narrow  about  their  prohibition  ;  it  would  be  of  the  broadest 
kind,  including  everything  from  murder  to  non-attendance  at 
church. — Liberty,  May  12,  1883. 

Eighteen  men  and  women  who  had  been  punished  once  for 
all  the  crimes  they  had  ever  been  convicted  of  committing, 
and  against  whom  there  was  no  shred  of  evidence  of  having 
committed  any  new  crime,  or  of  harboring  any  intention  of 
committing  any  new  crime,  were  taken  into  custody  by  the 
New  York  police  on  Thursday,  August  6,  on  no  pretext  what- 
ever save  that  these  persons  had  the  reputation  of  being  pro- 
fessional pick-pockets,  and  that  it  was  the  part  of  prudence 
to  keep  such  characters  in  jail  until  after  the  Grant  obsequies, 
when  they  might  be  arraigned  in  court  and  discharged  for 
want  of  evidence  against  them.  That  is  to  say,  eighteen 
persons,  presumably  innocent  in  the  eye  of  the  law,  had  to  be 
deprived  of  their  liberty  and  kept  in  dungeons  for  four  days, 
in  order  that  some  hundreds  of  thousands  of  people,  half  of 
them  numskulls  and  the  other  half  hypocrites,  might  not  be 
obliged  to  keep  their  hands  on  their  pocket-books  while  they 
shed  crocodile  tears  at  the  grave  of  one  of  the  foremost 
abettors  of  theft  and  plunder  which  this  century  has  produced. 
■  And  the  upholders  of  governments  continue  to  prate  of  the 
insecurity  that  would  prevail  without  them,  and  to  boast  of 
the  maxim,  while  thus  violating  it,  that  "  it  is  better  that 
ninety-nine  guilty  men  should  escape  than  that  one  innocent 
man  should  suffer." — Liberty,  August  15,  1885. 

"  Whenever  it  is  proposed,"  writes  W.  J.  Potter  in  the 
Index,  "that    the    voluntary    system    for    religion    shall    be 


adopted  and  trusted  wholly,  there  are  many  timid  folk  who 
start  up  with  the  warning  that  religion  would  be  imperilled. 
Such  people  do  not  appear  to  have  much  confidence  in  the 
power  of  religion  to  maintain  itself  in  the  world."  By  similar 
reasoning,  how  much  confidence  does  Mr.  Potter,  who  would 
prohibit  people  from  reading  literature  that  does  not  satisfy 
his  standard  of  purity,  who  would  prohibit  people  from  drink- 
ing liquors  that  do  not  satisfy  his  standard  of  sobriety,  who 
would  compel  people  to  be  charitable  by  making  them  pay 
taxes  for  the  support  of  alms-houses  and  hospitals,  and  who 
would  compel  people  to  be  learned,  and  still  other  people  to  * 
pay  the  expense  of  their  learning, — how  much  confidence,  I 
say,  does  Mr.  Potter  appear  to  have  in  the  power  of  purity, 
temperance,  benevolence,  and  education  to  maintain  them- 
selves in  the  world  ?  Mr.  Potter  should  learn  of  Auberon 
Herbert  that  "  every  measure  to  which  a  man  objects  is  a 
Church-rate  if  you  have  the  courage  and  the  logic  to  see 
it." — Liberty,  September  12,   1885. 

"  No  man  who  puts  any  conscience  into  his  voting,  or  who 
acts  from  proper  self-respect,"  says  the  Boston  Herald,  "  will 
consider  himself  bound  to  support  a  dishonest  or  unfit  can- 
didate merely  because  he  was  '  fairly  nominated  '  by  the  ma- 
jority of  his  party."  But  the  Herald  believes  that  every  man 
who  puts  any  conscience  into  his  conduct,  or  who  acts  from 
proper  self-respect,  should  consider  himself  bound  to  support 
and  obey  a  dishonest  or  unfit  official  merely  because  he  was 
fairly  elected  by  the  majority  of  his  countrymen.  Where  is 
the  obligation  in  the  latter  case  more  than  in  the  former  ? 
"  Our  country,  right  or  wrong,"  is  as  immoral  a  sentiment  as 
"  our  party,  right  or  wrong."  The  Herald  and  its  mugwump 
friends  should  beware  of  their  admissions.  They  will  find 
that  the  "  divine  right  to  bolt  "  leads  straight  to  Anarchy. 
— Liberty,  September  12,  1885. 

To  the  Czar  of  Russia  is  due  the  credit  of  applying  practi- 
cally to  taxation  the  reductio  ad  absiirdum.  Heretofore  all  his 
subjects  have  enjoyed  at  least  the  highly  estimable  privilege 
of  praying  for  their  rights  free  of  cost.  Any  morning  any  of 
them  could  put  in  as  many  petitions  as  they  chose  to  Alex- 
ander himself  or  any  of  his  ministers  for  relief  from  any 
grievance  whatsoever.  Now,  however,  this  state  of  things  is 
no  more.  The  last  liberty  of  the  Russian  has  been  taken  from 
him.  The  right  of  petition  has  been  made  the  subject  of  a  tax. 
Before  the  aggrieved  citizen  can  make  his  grievance  officially 


known,  he  must  pay  sixty  kopecks  into  the  treasury  of  His 
Imperial  Nibs  for  the  purchase  of  a  stamp  to  put  upon  his 
document.  Other  sovereigns  have  taxed  every  other  right 
under  the  sun,  but  it  was  left  for  Alexander  III.  to  tax  the 
right  to  demand  your  rights.  No  citizen  of  Russia  can  now 
ask  his  "  dear  father  "  to  let  him  alone  without  paying  sixty 
kopecks  an  ask.  This  is  the  act  of  a  notoriously  cruel  despot. 
See  now  how  much  wiser  the  policy  of  a  reputedly  benevolent 
one,  Dom  Pedro  of  Brazil.  He  also  is  the  author  of  a  novelty 
in  taxation.  No  Brazilian  husband,  who,  becoming  suspicious 
of  his  wife,  detects  her  and  her  lover  in  flagrante  delicto,  can 
hereafter  legally  establish  such  discovery  until  he  has  first 
poured  into  the  State's  coffers  a  sum  slightly  exceeding  two 
dollars  and  a  half.  This  is  a  use  of  tyranny  that  almost  in- 
clines me  to  wink  at  it.  Bleeding  domestic  tyrants  is  better 
business  than  political  tyrants  are  wont  to  engage  in.  If  there 
must  be  a  tax-gatherer,  I  shall  vote  for  Dom  Pedro. — Liberty, 
November  14,  1885. 

The  latest  piece  of  governmental  infernalism  is  the  proposi- 
tion to  raise  the  "  age  of  consent  "  to  eighteen  years.  It 
sounds  quite  harmless,  and  belongs  to  that  class  of  measures 
which  especially  allure  stiff-necked  moralists,  pious  prudes, 
"  respectable  "  radicals,  and  all  the  other  divisions  of  the 
"  unco  guid."  But  what  does  it  mean  ?  It  means  that,  if 
a  girl  of  seventeen,  of  mature  and  sane  mind,  whom  even  the 
law  recognizes  as  a  fit  person  to  be  married  and  the  mother  of 
a  family,  shall  love  a  man  and  win  his  love  in  return,  and  if 
this  mutual  love,  by  the  voluntary  and  deliberate  act  of  both 
parties,  shall  find  sexual  expression  outside  of  the  "  forms  of 
law  "  made  and  provided  by  our  stupid  legislatures,  the  man 
may  be  found  guilty  of  committing  rape  and  sent  to  prison  for 
twenty  years.  Such  is  the  real  nature  of  this  proposition, 
whatever  attempts  may  be  made  to  conceal  it  beneath  the 
garments  of  sentimentalism  and  moralism.  It  is  an  outrage 
on  manhood,  and  on  womanhood  not  only  an  outrage,  but  an 
insult.  And  yet  it  is  put  forward  in  the  interest  of  young  girls' 
honor.  Honor,  forsooth  I  As  if  it  were  possible  to  more 
basely  dishonor  a  woman  already  several  years  past  the  age  at 
which  Nature  provided  her  with  the  power  of  motherhood  than 
by  telling  her  that  she  hasn't  brains  enough  to  decide  whether 
and  in  what  way  she  will  become  a  mother  \— Liberty,  April 
17,  1886. 

In  these  days  of  boycott  trials  a  great  deal  of  nonsense  is 
being   talked   and    written    regarding   "blackmail."     This    is 

l62  INSTEAD   OP   A   BOOK. 

a  question  which  the  principle  of  Liberty  settles  at  once.  It 
may  be  well  to  state  the  verdict  boldly  and  baldly.  Here  it 
is  :  Any  individual  may  place  any  condition  he  chooses,  pro- 
vided the  condition  be  not  in  itself  invasive,  upon  the  doing 
or  not  doing  of  anything  which  he  has  a  right  to  do  or  not  do  ; 
but  no  individual  can  rightfully  be  a  party  to  any  bargain 
which  makes  a  necessarily  invasive  condition  incumbent  upon 
any  of  the  contracting  parties.  From  which  it  follows  that 
an  individual  may  rightfully  "  extort"  money  from  another  by 
"  threatening  "  him  with  certain  consequences,  provided  those 
consequences  are  of  such  a  nature  that  he  can  cause  them 
without  infringing  upon  anybody's  rights.  Such  "  extortion  " 
is  generally  rather  mean  business,  but  there  are  circumstances 
under  which  the  most  high-minded  of  men  might  resort  to  it 
without  doing  violence  to  his  instincts,  and  under  no  circum- 
stances is  it  invasive  and  therefore  wrongful,  unless  the  act 
threatened  is  invasive  and  therefore  wrongful.  Therefore  to 
punish  men  who  have  taken  money  for  lifting  a  boycott  is 
oppression  pure  and  simple.  Whatever  may  be  the  "  com- 
mon law  "  or  the  "  statute  law  "  of  blackmail,  this — to  use  Mr. 
Spooner's  phrase — is  the  natural  law  that  governs  it. — Liberty, 
July  31,  1886. 

The  methods  pursued  by  District  Assembly  49  of  the  Knights 
of  Labor  in  the  conduct  of  the  recent  strike  have  driven  Mayor 
Hewitt  and  divers  other  capitalistic  publicists  into  a  state  of 
frenzy,  so  that  they  now  lose  no  opportunity  to  frantically  de- 
clare that  one  set  of  men  must  not  be  permitted  to  deprive 
other  sets  of  men  of  the  right  to  labor.  This  is  a  white- 
bearded  truth,  but,  when  spoken  in  condemnation  of  the 
Knights  of  Labor  for  ordering  members  in  one  branch  of  in- 
dustry to  quit  work  for  the  purpose  of  strengthening  strikers 
in  another  branch  by  more  completely  paralyzing  business,  it 
is  given  a  tone  of  impertinence  more  often  characteristic  of 
callow  juvenility  than  of  venerable  old  age.  I  can't  see  for 
my  life  whose  liberty  is  encroached  upon  by  such  a  procedure. 
Certainly  not  that  of  the  men  ordered  to  quit,  because  they 
joined  the  Knights,  a  voluntary  organization,  for  certain  ex- 
press purposes,  of  which  this  was  one,  and,  when  they  no 
longer  approve  it,  can  secede  from  it  and  then  work  when  and 
where  they  please.  Certainly  not,  on  the  other  hand,  that  of 
the  employers  who  thus  lose  their  workmen,  because,  if  it  is 
no  invasion  of  liberty  for  the  individual  workman  to  leave  his 
employer  in  obedience  to  any  whim  whatsoever,  it  is  equally 
no  invasion  of  liberty  for  a  body  of  workmen  to  act  likewise, 


even  though  they  have  no  grievance  against  their  employer. 
Who,  then,  are  deprived  of  their  liberty  ?  None.  All  this 
outcry  simply  voices  the  worry  of  the  capitalists  over  the 
thought  that  laborers  have  learned  one  of  their  own  tricks, — 
the  art  of  creating  a  corner.  The  policy  of  District  Assembly 
49  (whether  wise  or  foolish  is  another  question)  was  simply 
one  of  cornering  labor,  which  is  much  easier  to  justify  than 
cornering  capital,  because  the  cornered  labor  is  withheld  from 
the  market  by  its  rightful  owners,  while  the  cornered  capital 
is  withheld  by  men  who  never  could  have  obtained  it  except 
through  State-granted  privilege  to  extort  and  rob. — Liberty, 
March  12,  1887. 

All  the  indignation  that  is  rife  over  the  decision  of  Wor- 
cester shoe  manufacturers  and  Chicago  master  builders  to  em- 
ploy only  such  men  as  will  sign  an  agreement  practically, 
excluding  them  from  their  unions  is  very  ill  spent.  These 
employers  have  a  perfect  right  to  hire  men  on  whatever  con- 
ditions the  men  will  accept.  If  the  latter  accept  cruel  condi- 
tions, it  is  only  because  they  are  obliged  to  do  so.  What  thus 
obliges  them  ?  Law-sustained  monopolies.  Their  relief  lies, 
then,  not  in  depriving  employers  of  the  right  of  contract,  but 
in  giving  employees  the  same  right  of  contract  without  crip- 
pling them  in  advance. — Liberty,  May  28,  1887. 

Judge  McCarthy,  of  the  Pennsylvania  supreme  court,  having 
to  pass  upon  the  question  whether,  under  the  Pennsylvania 
liquor  law,  licenses  should  be  granted  in  a  certain  county,  de- 
cided against  granting  them  because  he  was  opposed  to  the 
•law,  saying  in  the  opinion  which  he  filed  :  "  When  laws  are 
passed  that  seem  to  conflict  with  God's  injunctions,  we  are 
not  compelled  to  obey  them."  I'll  warrant  that  that  same 
judge,  were  an  Anarchist,  arraigned  before  him  for  the  viola- 
tion of  some  unjust  statute,  to  claim  that  he  followed  either 
God's  injunction  or  any  other  criterion  of  conduct  in  his  eyes 
superior  to  the  statute,  would  give  the  prisoner  three  months 
extra  for  his  impudence. — Liberty,  September  10,  1887. 

The  Providence  People  lays  it  down  as  one  of  three  "  funda- 
mentals "  that  "  every  child  should  be  guaranteed  a  free  com- 
plete education,  physically,  mentally,  morally,  and  industri- 
ally." What  is  a  complete  education  ?  Who's  got  one  that  he 
can  guarantee  ?  Who,  if  he  had  one  and  nothing  else,  could 
afford  to  impart  it  to  another  free  of  charge  ?  Even  if  he 
could  afford  to,  why  should  he  do  so  ?  Why  should  he  not  be 
paid  for  doing  so  ?     If  he  is  to  be  paid,  who  should  pay  hina 

164  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

except  the  recipient  of  the  education  or  those  upon  whom 
the  recipient  is  directly  dependent  ?  Do  not  these  questions 
cut  under  the  "  fundamental  "  of  the  People?"  Is  it,  then,  a 
fundamental,  after  all  ? — Liberty,  December  3,  1887. 

Not  content  with  getting  the  "  age  of  consent  "  raised  from 
ten  to  thirteen,  a  bevy  of  impertinent  and  prudish  women 
went  up  to  the  Massachusetts  State  House  the  other  day  and 
asked  that  it  be  raised  again, — this  time  to  eighteen.  When  a 
member  of  the  legislative  committee  suggested  that  the  age 
be  placed  at  thirt5'-five,  since  the  offence  aimed  at  was  as 
much  a  crime  at  thirty-five  as  eighteen,  the  petitioners  did 
not  seem  to  be  terrified  by  his  logic.  Evidently  these  ladies 
are  not  afraid  that  their  consent  will  ever  be  asked  at  all. — 
Liberty,  February  11,  1888. 

At  the  end  of  a  protest  against  the  addition,  of  the  higher 
branches  of  education  to  the  curriculum  of  the  public 
schools,  the  Winsted  Press  says:  "The  common  district 
school,  thoroughly  well  conducted,  is  good  enough  for  com- 
mon folks.  Let  the  uncommon  folks  have  uncommon  schools 
and  pay  for  them."  True  enough;  but,  if  common  folks 
should  not  be  made  to  pay  for  uncommon  schools,  why 
should  uncommon  folks  be  made  to  pay  for  common  schools  ? 
—Liberty,  April  28,  1888. 

A  New  Jersey  court  has  decided  that  the  will  of  a  citizen 
of  that  State,  by  which  Henry  George  was  given  a  large  sum 
of  money  for  the  circulation  of  his  books,  is  invalid  on  the. 
ground  that  the  bequest  is  not  educational  or  charitable,  but 
intended  for  the  spread  of  doctrines  contrary  to  the  law  of 
the  land.  Probably  the  judge  who  rendered  this  decision 
thinks  regarding  the  determination  of  economic  truth,  as  Mr. 
George  thinks  regarding  the  issue  of  money,  the  collection  of 
rents,  the  carrying  of  letters,  the  running  of  railroads,  and 
sundry  other  things,  that  it  is  "  naturally  a  function  of  gov- 
ernment." And  really,  if  Mr.  George  is  right,  I  do  not  see 
why  the  judge  is  not  right.  Yet  I  agree  that  Mr.  George  has 
correctly  branded  him  as  an  "  immortal  ass." — Liberty,  May 
26,  1888. 

A  California  friend  sends  me. a  copy  of  the  Weekly  Star  of 
San  Francisco  containing  an  article  which,  if  a  tenth  part  of 
it  be  true,  shows  that  city  and  State  to  be  under  the  pestilent 
control  of  a  band  of  felons.  At  the  end  of  the  article  the 
writer,  regardless  of  the  fact  that   this  state  of  things  is  the 


direct  outgrowth  of  the  government  of  man  by  man,  proposes 
to  add  to  the  powers  of  this  government  the  exclusive  man- 
agement of  the  telegraph  system,  of  the  banking  system,  and 
of  corporate  enterprises,  as  wefl  as  a  vast  new  field  of  judica- 
ture. To  this  political  servant,  who  has  not  even  the  grace  to 
hide  in  the  earth  the  talent  intrusted  to  him,  but  insists  on 
using  it  as  a  scourge  upon  mankind,  the  editor  of  the  Weekly 
Star  says  :  "  Thou  hast  been  unizx'CcdvX  over  a  few  things  ;  I 
will  make  thee  ruler  over  many  things."  I  am  not  surprised 
to  find  from  another  column  of  the  same  paper  that  the  edi- 
tor looks  upon  Anarchists  as  pestilent  mischief-makers  and 
noisy  blatherskites. — Liberty,  July  7,  1888. 

Colonel  Ingersoll  has  recently  promulgated  the  theory  that 
the  husband  should  never  be  released  from  the  marriage  con- 
tract unless  the  wife  has  violated  it,  but  that  the  wife  should  be 
allowed  a  divorce  merely  for  the  asking.  Presumably  this  is  in- 
tended for  chivalry,  but  it  really  is  an  insult  to  every  self-re- 
specting woman.  It  is  a  relic  of  the  old  theory  that  woman  is 
an  inferior  being,  with  whom  it  is  impossible  for  a  man  to 
treat  as  an  equal.  No  woman  worthy  of  the  name  and  fully 
understanding  the  nature  of  her  act  would  ever  consent  to 
union  with  a  man  by  any  contract  which  would  not  secure  his 
liberty  equally  with  her  own. — Liberty,  August  18,  1888. 

The  theoretical  position  taken  by  Henry  George  in  regard 
to  competition  is  that  free  trade  should  prevail  everywhere  ex- 
cept in  those  lines  of  business  where  in  the  nature  of  things 
competition  can  exist  only  partially  if  at  all,  and  that  in  such 
lines  there  should  be  a  government  monopoly^  Yet  in  a  recent 
speech  in  England  he  declared  that  it  was  not  quite  clear  to 
him  whether  the  sale  of  liquor  should  be  free  or  monopolized 
by  the  government.  Mr.  George,  then,  if  honest  and  logical, 
must  entertain  a  suspicion  of  the  existence  of  some  natural  re- 
striction upon  competition  in  the  sale  of  liquor.  Will  he  be 
so  good  as  to  point  it  out  ?  No,  he  will  not  ;  and  for  the  rea- 
son that  his  professed  criterion  is  simply  a  juggler's  attempt  to 
conceal  under  something  that  looks  like  a  scientific  formula 
his  arbitrary  method  of  deciding  that  in  such  a  channel  of  en- 
terprise there  shall  be  free  trade,  and  in  such  another  there 
shall  be  none. — Liberty,  February  2,  1889. 

The  allopathic  physicians  of  Massachusetts,  having  worked 
in  vain  for  several  years  to  obtain  a  legal  monopoly  of  the 
practice  of  medicine,  have  concluded  that  a  sure  half  loaf  is 
better  than  a  steadily  diminishing  slice,  and  so  have  gone  intQ 

1 66  INSTEAD    OF    A   BOOK. 

partnership  with  one  or  two  factions  of  the  "quacks"  to 
prevent  all  other  "  quacks  "  from  following  their  profession. 
This  year  the  allopaths  have  taken  the  homoeopaths  and  ec- 
lectics into  the  ring,  and  by  thfs  political  manoeuvre  they  hope 
to  secure  the  valuable  privilege  which  they  are  aiming  at,  on 
the  plea  which  privileged  classes  always  make, — that  of  pro- 
tecting the  masses.  The  battle  is  being  stubbornly  fought  at 
the  State  House,  and  at  a  recent  hearing  before  the  judiciary 
committee  Geo.  M.  Stearns  of  Chicopee,  who  appeared  for 
the  "  quacks,"  made  one  of  the  wittiest,  keenest,  and  most  un- 
compromising speeches  in  favor  of  absolute  liberty  in  medi- 
cine that  ever  fell  from  a  lawyer's  lips.  It  is  a  pity  that  some 
of  his  clients  who  followed  him  were  not  equally  consistent. 
For  instance.  Dr.  J.  Rhodes  Buchanan,  who  is  a  sort  of  quack- 
in-chief,  in  the  course  of  a  long  argument  made  to  convince 
the  committee  of  the  right  of  the  patient  to  choose  his  own 
doctor,  declared  that  he  would  favor  a  bill  which  would  make 
treatment  of  cancer  with  a  knife  malpractice  The  old  story 
again.  In  medicine  as  in  theology  orthodoxy  is  my  doxy 
and  heterodoxy  is  your  doxy.  This  "  quack,"  who  is  so  out- 
raged because  the  "  regulars  "  propose  to  suppress  him,  clearly 
enough  aches  for  a  dictator's  power  that  he  may  abolish  the 
regulars.  He  reminds  one  of  those  Secularists  whose  indig- 
nation at  being  compelled  to  pay  taxes  for  the  support  of 
churches  in  which  they  do  not  believe  is  only  equalled  by  the 
delight  which  they  take  in  compelling  church-members  to  pay 
taxes  for  the  support  of  schools  to  which  they  are  opposed. 
And  yet  there  are  good  friends  of  Liberty  who  insist  that  I,  in 
condemning  these  people,  show  an  inability  to  distinguish  be- 
tween friends  artd  foes.  The  truth  is  that,  unlike  these  criti- 
cal comrades,  I  am  not  to  be  blinded  to  the  distinction  between 
friends  and  foes  by  a  mere  similarity  of  shibboleth. — Liberty, 
February  23,  1889. 

While  justly  censuring  the  centralized  authority  which  is  the 
essence  of  the  scheme  upon  which  the  Topolobampo  colony 
is  founded,  the  Chicago  Unity  says  nevertheless  that,  since 
we  are  privileged  to  stay  away,  "  Mr.  Owen's  plan  is  in  this 
respect  a  great  improvement  on  Nationalism,  or  other  forms  of 
State  Socialism,  which  would  oblige  all  citizens,  though  directly 
in  opposition  to  their  own  convictions  and  wishes,  to  submit 
to  the  new  despotism."  This  is  very  true  ;  but  I  wonder  if 
Unity  realizes  that  among  these  "  other  forms  of  State  So- 
cialism "  which  oblige  all  citizens  to  submit  to  their  despot- 
ism in  opposition  to  the   citizens'  wishes,  and  to  which  there- 


fore  Mr.  Owen's  plan,  hideous  as  it  is,  is  in  this  respect  supe- 
rior, is  properly  to  be  classed  the  existing  United  States  gov- 
ernment.— Liberty,  May  16,  1891. 

The  original  patent  of  the  Bell  Telephone  Company  expires 
in  March,  1893.  "  From  personal  tests  in  Boston,"  says  an  ex- 
pert in  this  matter,  "  I  know  they  have  practical  instruments 
that  are  one  hundred  per  cent,  better  than  those  in  use  now. 
They  are  keeping  these  instruments  in  reserve  to  meet  the 
competition  of  the  future.  The  Western  Union  Telegraph 
Company  is  doing  the  same  thing."  A  paper  called  the  Canal 
Dispatch,  commenting  on  this,  indignantly  complains  that 
"  some  of  the  glorious  and  useful  instruments  of  the  nine- 
teenth century  are  lying  under  lock  and  key  as  the  fruit  of 
'  free  competition.' "  This  indignation  is  righteous,  but  mis- 
directed. It  is  not  free  competition  that  is  keeping  these  im- 
provements locked  up,  but  that  form  of  monopoly  known  as 
property  in  ideas.  As  the  expert  points  out,  as  soon  as  the 
patent  expires  and  competition  arriv  es,  the  improvements  will 
be  brought  to  light. — Liberty,  May  16,  1891. 

In  an  article  justifying  the  prohibition  of  the  liquor  traffic, 
the  Atlantic  (Iowa)  Investigator  says  :  "  According  to  the 
Anarchistic  theory,  the  government  has  no  right  to  prohibit 
anything,  but  only  has  the  right  to  interfere  where  a  wrong  has 
been  done,  and  then  only  to  make  the  wrong-doer  repair  dam- 
ages." I  know  not  the  source  whence  \ht  Investigator  &^x\\&^ 
this  notion  of  Anarchism,  but  it  is  certainly  a  mistaken  one. 
As  to  government.  Anarchism  holds  that  it  has  no  business  to 
do  anything  whatsoever  or  even  to  exist ;  but  voluntary  defen- 
sive associations  acting  on  the  Anarchistic  principle  would 
not  only  demand  redress  for,  but  would  prohibit,  all  clearly 
invasive  acts.  They  would  not,  however,  prohibit  non-invasive 
acts,  even  though  these  acts  create  additional  opportunity  for 
invasive  persons  to  act  invasively.  For  instance,  they  would 
not  prevent  the  buying  and  selling  of  liquor,  even  though  it  be 
true  that  some  people  are  invasive  when  under  the  influence 
of  liquor.  The  Investigator  has  failed  to  grasp  the  Anar- 
chistic view.  It  makes  the  dividing  line  of  Anarchism  run 
between  prohibition  of  injury  and  compulsory  redress,  whereas 
Anarchism  really  includes  both.  Its  dividing  line  runs  in  an 
entirely  different  direction,  and  separates  invasion  from  non- 
invasion.  Let  the  Investigator  try  again, — Liberty,  May  30, 

l68  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

The  editor  of  the  Arena  longs  for  the  "  era  of  woman " 
because,  when  it  arrives,  States  being  woman-governed  instead 
of  man-governed,  the  "  age  of  consent  "  will  be  placed  at 
eighteen  years.  Pointing  to  the  example  set  in  this  respect 
by  Kansas  and  Wyoming,  the  States  which  come  nearest  to 
being  woman-governed,  he  says  in  rebuking  italics  :  "  All  the 
other  States  trail  the  banner  of  morality  in  the  dust  before  the  dic- 
tates of  man's  bestiality."  Mr.  Flower  supposes  himself  to  be  an 
individualist,  and  sometimes  writes  in  favor  of  individualism 
in  a  way  that  commands  my  admiration.  But  I  am  curious 
to  know  by  what  rule  he  applies  the  theory  of  individualism, 
that  he  can  bring  himself  to  violate  and  deny  the  individual- 
ity of  the  girl  who  wrote  "  The  Story  of  an  African  Farm," 
by  favoring  a  law  which  would  send  to  prison  for  twenty 
years,  as  guilty  of  rape,  any  man  with  whom  she  might  have 
freely  chosen,  at  the  age  when  she  began  to  write  that  book, 
to  enter  into  sexual  relations.  Had  Olive  Schreiner  lived  in 
civilized  Wyoming  instead  of  semi-barbarous  South  Africa, 
and  had  she  chosen  to  practise  the  theories  which  she  favors 
in  her  book,  she  would  indeed  have  been  raped  ;  not  however 
by  the  lover  of  her  choice,  but  by  the  women  who  deny  her 
the  right  of  choice,  and  by  the  men  like  B.  O.  Flower,  who 
glory  in  this  denial ;  raped,  not  of  virginity,  that  paltry, 
tawdry,  and  overrated  gewgaw,  but  of  liberty,  that  priceless, 
matchless  jewel,  which  it  is  becoming  fashionable  to  despise. 
— Liberty,  August  i,  1891. 

For  one  I  shall  shed  no  tears  if  the  New  York  law  forbid- 
ding the  publication  of  accounts  of  executions  is  rigorously 
enforced  and  its  violators  severely  punished.  Much  as  I 
value  the  liberty  of  the  press,  yes,  because  I  value  it,  I  should 
like  to  see  the  knife  of  authority  buried  to  the  hilt  in  the  ten- 
derest  part  of  the  ordinarily  truckling  newspapers  of  New 
York  and  then  turned  vigorously  and  mercilessly  round.  Per- 
haps, after  that,  Comstock  laws,  anti-lottery  laws,  and  other 
similar  legal  villainies  would  no  longer  be  made  possible  by 
the  subservient  hypocrites  who  cry  out  against  oppressions 
only  when  victimized  themselves.  For  some  time  past  the 
New  York  Sun  has  been  violating  law  with  boasting  and  defi- 
ance, and  yet,  because  in  Tennessee  a  forcible  attempt  has 
been  made  to  prevent  the  employment  of  convicts  in  the 
mines,  and  because  in  Kansas  an  Alliance  judge  has  disobeyed 
the  decree  of  the  supreme  court,  it  solemnly  declares  that  to 
disregard  law  "  is  resistance  to  the  will  of  the  people,  except 
in  the  case  of  an  unconstitutional  statute,  which  is  really  no 


la>v  at  all."  The  exception  here  entered  by  the  Sun  to  save 
it's  own  skin  does  not  avail  for  that  purpose.  Who  is  to  decide 
whether  a  statute  is  unconstitutional?  The  supreme  court, 
the  Sun  will  answer.  But  is  the  Sun  prepared,  in  case  the 
supreme  court  declares  the  law  regarding  executions  constitu- 
tional, to  condemn  its  own  course  in  violating  the  law  ?  I 
think  not.  But  then  it  must  allow  to  the  Tennessee  laborers 
and  the  Kansas  judge  the  same  liberty  that  it  claims  for  itself. 
If  the  "  higher  law  "  doctrine  is  good  for  anything,  it  is  good, 
not  only  against  legislatures,  but  against  supreme  courts.  On 
the  other  hand,  if  it  is  good  for  nothing,  the  Sun  should  take 
its  own  advice  to  other  law-breakers,  and,  instead  of  violating 
the  law  regarding  executions,  should  go  to  the  ballot-box  and 
get  it  repealed.  But  the  Sun  will  not  be  thus  heedful  of  con- 
sistency. That  jewel  is  not  prized  by  hogs.  The  6'z^m  is  a  hog, 
an  organ  of  hogs,  an  apologist  for  hogs  ;  and  I  shall  not  grieve 
to  see  it  butchered  like  a  hog. — Liberty,  August  i,  1891. 

The  Seattle  Post-Intelligencer  has  a  very  clever  man  on  its 
editorial  staff.  His  editorials  are  far  above  the  ordinary  literary 
level  of  the  journalist,  are  often  sensible,  and  always  show  a 
decided  inclination  to  serious  consideration  of  the  subjects  with 
which  they  deal,  and  to  independent  and  original  thought. 
But  occasionally  his  originality  carries  him  too  far.  Witness 
the  following  original  discovery,  which  he  gave  to  the  world 
unpatented  in  a  recent  editorial  against  woman  suffrage:  "  No- 
body who  is  not  an  Anarchist  in  theory,  if  not  in  practice,  ever 
pretended  that  suffrage  was  a  natural  right  ;  but  from  the 
Anarchist  point  of  view  that  suffrage  is  a  natural  right,  you 
can  just  as  easily  argue,  as  Anarchists  do,  that  '  property  is  rob- 
bery.' "  If  this  editor  had  ever  investigated  Anarchism,  of 
course  he  would  know  that  most  Anarchists  do  not  believe  in 
natural  rights  at  all ;  that  not  one  of  them  considers  suffrage 
a  natural  right  ;  that,  on  the  other  hand,  they  all  agree  on  the 
central  proposition  that  rule  is  evil,  and  on  the  corollary  that 
it  is  none  the  better  for  being  majority  rule.  Anarchism  is  as 
hostile  to  the  ballot  as  peace  is  to  gunpowder. — Liberty,  August 
29,  1891. 

I  wonder  if  the  people  of  Massachusetts  know  that  their 
law-makers  made  a  law  this  year  punishing  with  imprisonment 
for  life  every  criminal  or  pauper  who  has  the  syphilis.  Such 
is  the  astounding  fact.  To  be  more  specific,  the  law  provides 
that  any  inmate  of  a  State  penal  or  charitable  institution  who, 
at  the  expiration  of  his  term  of  imprisonment,  shall  be  afflicted 

170  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

with  syphilis  shall  not  be  discharged,  but  shall  be  detained  in 
the  institution  until  cured.  As  syphilis  is  seldom  cured,  this 
means  in  most  cases  life-imprisonment.  Hereafter,  in  Massa- 
chusetts, only  the  rich  and  the  law-abiding  are  to  be  allowed 
to  have  the  syphilis  and  liberty  too. — Liberty,  August  29,  1891. 

A  certain  class  of  littirateurs  are  raising  their  voices  against 
the  "  degradation  of  literature  "  which  they  see  in  the  adver- 
tisement by  the  newspapers  of  "  Mr.  Howells's  $10,000  novel." 
The  question  occurs  to  me  :  if  literature  suffers  no  degrada- 
tion from  Mr.  Howells's  receipt  of  f  10,000  for  the  right  to  pub- 
lish his  novel  serially,  how  can  it  be  injured  by  the  announce- 
ment of  the  fact  ?  That  the  whole  business  is  degrading  to 
literature  I  have  no  doubt,  but  the  real  source  of  the  degra- 
dation is  the  State-created  monopoly  which  enables  Mr.  How- 
ells  to  put  such  a  price  upon  his  work.  And  yet  in  the  eyes 
of  these  offended  'litterateurs  it  is  this  monopoly  that  uplifts 
literature.  It  is  creditable  to  their  instincts,  though  not  to 
their  reason,  that,  having  obtained  for  literature  "  the  proud 
reward  to  which  it  is  entitled,"  they  are  ashamed  to  let  the 
public  know  the  amount  of  this  reward. — Liberty,  November  7, 

There  has  been  a  law  on  the  Pennsylvania  statute  books 
since  1885  prohibiting  the  manufacture  and  sale  of  butterine. 
Under  the  decisions  of  the  United  States  courts,  however,  pro- 
ducers outside  tfie  State  are  able  to  ship  their  goods  into  the 
State  and  sell  them  in  the  original  packages.  An  increasing 
number  of  dealers  buy  these  packages,  open  them,  and  retail 
from  them  in  violation  of  the  law.  So  prevalent  has  this 
practice  become  that  the  Pennsylvania  butchers,  who  used  to 
sell  their  fats  to  the  butterine  factories,  and  now  have  to  sell 
them  in  Holland  much  less  advantageously,  are  taking  advan- 
tage of  it  to  prosecute  the  guilty  parties  in  the  hope  of  secur- 
ing a  repeal  of  the  obnoxious  law.  Meanwhile  the  dear  and 
protected  people,  instead  of  eating  sweet  and  wholesome  but- 
terine, are  forced  to  eat  strong  butter,  for  which  they  pay  a 
monopoly  price  to  the  protected  farmers  and  dairymen.  The 
people  are  protected  in  the  right  to  be  robbed,  and  the 
farmers  and  dairymen  in  the  right  to  rob.  All  these  protec- 
tions should  be  wiped  out.  The  only  protection  which  honest 
people  need  is  protection  against  that  vast  Society  for  the 
Creation  of  Theft  which  is  euphemistically  designated  as  the 
State, — Liberty,  May  14,  1892. 

The  individual,  soCietV,  and  the  StATE.         171 

Talk  about  bloodthirsty  Anarchists  !  Listen  to  this.  It  is 
the  editor  of  the  American  Architect  who  speaks.  "  So  far 
as  principle  goes,  we  would  like  to  see  any  interference  with 
the  employment  of  a  man  willing  to  work,  any  request  or  de- 
mand-— direct  or  indirect— /or  the  discharge  of  a  faithful  work- 
man, or  any  attempt  at  coercion  of  a  workman,  by  threats  of 
any  sort,  to  leave  his  work,  punishable  with  death."  Here 
we  have  Archism  in  full  flower.  If  John  Smith  politely  asks 
Jim  Jones  to  discharge  or  not  to  employ  industrious  and  faith- 
ful Sam  Robinson,  kill  him.  Such  is  capitalism's  counsel  to 
the  courts.  If  it  should  be  acted  upon,  I  hold  that  the  people 
would  have  better  cause  to  charge  the  Architect  editor  with 
conspiracy  to  murder,  find  him  guilty,  and  dynamite  him, 
than  had  the  State  of  Illinois  to  find  a  similar  verdict  against 
Spies  and  his  comrades  and  hang  them.  I  wonder  if  the 
Architect  editor  would  be  willing  to  see  his  principle  carried 
out  impartially.  Fancy,  for  instance,  the  electrocution  of 
Col.  Eliot  ■  F.  Shepard  for  blacklisting  an  industrious  and 
faithful  Fifth  Avenue  stage-driver  on  account  of  his  use  of 
profane  language  and  asking  the  superintendents  of  horse-car 
lines  not  to  employ  him.  If  incendiary  counsel  shall  bring  on 
a  bloody  revolution,  the  chief  sin  thereof  will  lie  upon  the 
capitalists  and  their  hired  advocates,  and  bitterly  will  they  pay 
the  penalty.  In  these  modern  days  there  are  many  Foulons, 
some  of  whom  may  yet  eat  grass. — Liberty,  May  21,  1892. 

In  the  State  of  New  York  an  unsuccessful  attempt  to  com- 
mit suicide  is  punishable  as  a  crime.  It  is  proposed  that  Anar- 
chists of  foreign  birth  shall  not  be  allowed  to  become  citizens. 
Attorney-General  Miller  wishes  suffrage  to  be  made  compul- 
sory by  the  disfranchisement  of  all  who  neglect  to  use  the 
ballot.  The  New  York  Health  Inspectors,  when  on  a  fruit- 
condemning  expedition  the  other  day,  after  seizing  a  push-cart 
full  of  green  peaches  turned  it  over  to  two  messenger-boys,  in 
(^nsequence  of  which  some  fifty  urchins  had  a  feast  and  pos- 
sibly several  funerals.  A  government  that  gives  away  the 
germs  of  disease  which  it  will  not  allow  others  to  sell  ;  a  gov- 
ernment that  insists  on  disfranchising  people  who  will  not  vote; 
a  government  that  refuses  to  naturalize  people  who  refuse  to 
be  naturalized  ;  a  government  that  refuses  life  to  people  who 
refuse  to  live, — well,  for  a  good  farce  such  a  government  is 
certainly  a  good  farce. — Liberty,  August  13,  1892. 

Another  monopoly  is  threatened.  At  present,  as  is  well 
known,  Wagner's  "  Parsifal "  can  be  performed  only  at  Bay- 

1|?2  llsrSTEAt)   OF   A   BOOK. 

reuth.  This  music-drama  is  Madame  Wagner's  property,  and 
she  refuses  to  allow  any  one  else  to  produce  it.  But  in  Aus- 
tria, it  seems,  every  copyrighted  work  becomes  free  ten  years 
after  the  author's  death.  Next  year,  therefore,  "  Parsifal  "  can 
be  performed  in  Austria  by  any  one  who  chooses.  Madame 
Wagner  is  moving  heaven  and  earth  to  secure  the  passage  of  a 
new  law  in  Austria  in  the  interest  of  her  monopoly,  and  it  is 
said  that  she  may  succeed.  If  she  does,  then  Austrians,  like 
Frenchmen,  Englishmen,  Americans,  and  the  people  of  all 
other  nations  who  have  chosen  to  make  slaves  of  themselves, 
must  continue  to  pay  tribute,  not  only  to  Madame  Wagner, 
but  to  hotel-keepers  and  railroad  corporations,  if  they  desire 
to  witness  a  representation  of  the  greatest  achievement  in 
musical  composition  yet  attained.  This  situation  illustrates 
another  absurdity  of  property  in  ideas,  to  which  attention  has 
never  been  called  in  these  columns.  As  long  as  Madame  Wagner 
is  allowed  to  retain  her  monopoly, — and  really  if  it  is  rightfully 
her  property,  it  ought  never  to  be  taken  from  her,--— the  price 
which  a  man  must  pay  to  see  "  Parsifal "  is  proportionate  to 
the  distance  between  his  residence  and  Bayreuth.  The  citi- 
zen of  Bayreuth  pays  but  five  dollars  for  the  privilege  which 
must  cost  a  citizen  of  the  United  States  from  two  to  four 
hundred  dollars.  And  this  because  of  one  woman's  will  and 
the  rest  of  the  world's  lack  of  will.  It  may  be  replied,  of 
course,  that  the  same  situation  exists  regarding  many  works  of 
art  and  nature,  and  cannot  be  avoided,- — for  instance,  a  paint- 
ing by  Titian  or  the  falls  of  Niagara.  This  is  unfortunately 
true  ;  but  the  only  good  reason  for  putting  up  with  such  a 
state  of  things  is  that  we  cannot  help  ourselves.  We  pay  heav- 
ily to  see  Niagara  Falls  because  we  cannot  reproduce  Niagara 
Falls  within  walking  distance  of  our  homes.  But  is  the  fact 
that  we  must  pay  more  for  things  we  cannot  duplicate  a  good 
reason  for  paying  more  for  things  that  can  be  duplicated  ? — 
Liberty,  September  24,  1892. 

The  recent  strike  at  Carmaux,  France,  was  followed  by  an 
agitation  for  compulsory  arbitration  of  disputes  between  capi- 
tal and  labor.  There  was  a  lively  fight  over  it  in  the  French 
Chamber,  which  fortunately  had  the  good  sense  to  vote  the* 
measure  down.  Of  all  the  demands  made  upon  government 
in  the  interest  of  labor  this  is  perhaps  the  most  foolish.  I 
wonder  if  it  has  ever  occurred  to  the  laborers  who  make  it 
that  to  grant  their  desire  would  be  to  deny  that  cherished 
right  to  strike  upon  which  they  have  insisted  so  strenuously 
and  for  so  many  years.     Suppose,  for  instance,  a  body  of  oper- 

fHfe  lisrbivibuAL,  society,  anjd  the  state.         i(/j 

atives  decide  to  strike  in  defence  of  an  interest  which  they 
deem  vital  and  to  maintain  which  they  are  prepared  and  de- 
termined to  struggle  to  the  end.  Immediately  comes  along 
the  board  of  arbitration,  which  compels  strikers  and  employ- 
ers to  present  their  case  and  then  renders  a  decision.  Suppose 
the  decision  is  adverse  to  the  strikers.  They  are  bound  to  ac- 
cept it,  the  arbitration  being  compulsory,  or  suffer  the  penalty, 
— for  there  is  no  law  without  a  penalty.  What  then  has  be- 
come of  their  right  to  strike  ?  It  has  been  destroyed.  They 
can  ask  for  what  they  want ;  a  higher  power  immediately  de- 
cides whether  they  can  have  it  ;  and  from  this  decision  there 
is  no  appeal.  Labor  thus  would  be  prohibited  by  law  from 
struggling  for  its  rights.  And  yet  labor  is  so  short-sighted 
that  it  asks  for  this  very  prohibition  ! — Liberty,  November  19, 



[Liberty,  August  6,  1881.] 

"  Somebody  gets  the  surplus  wealth  that  labor  produces  and 
does  not  consume.  Who  is  the  Somebody  ? "  Such  is  the 
problem  recently  posited  in  the  editorial  columns  of  the  New- 
York  Truth.  Substantially  the  same  question  has  been  asked 
a  great  many  times  before,  but,  as  might  have  been  expected, 
this  new  form  of  putting  it  has  created  no  small  hubbub. 
Truth's  columns  are  full  of  it  ;  other  journals  are  taking  it  up  ; 
clubs  are  organizing  to  discuss  it ;  the  people  are  thinking 
about  it  ;  students  are  pondering  over  it.  For  it  is  a  most  mo- 
mentous question.  A  correct  answer  to  it  is  unquestionably  the 
first  step  in  the  settlement  of  the  appalling  problems  of  pov- 
erty, intemperance,  ignorance,  and  crime.  Truth,  in  selecting 
it  as  a  subject  on  which  to  harp  and  hammer  from  day  to  day, 
shows  itself  a  level-headed,  far-sighted  newspaper.  But,  im- 
portant as  it  is,  it  is  by  no  means  a  difficult  question  to  one 
who  really  considers  it  before  giving  an  answer,  thougtl  the 
variety  and  absurdity  of  nearly  all  the  replies  thus  far  volun- 
teered certainly  tend  to  give  an  opposite  impression. 

What  are  the  ways  by  which  men  gain  possession  of  prop- 
erty ?  Not  many.  Let  us  name  them:  work,  gift,  discovery, 
gaming,  the  various  forms  of  illegal  robbery  by  force  or  fraud, 
usury.  Can  men  obtain  wealth  by  any  other  than  one  or 
more  of  these  methods  ?  Clearly,  no.  Whoever  the  Somebody 
may  be,  then,  he  must  accumulate  his  riches  in  one  of  these 
ways.     We  will  find  him  by  the  process  of  elimination. 

Is  the  Somebody  the  laborer  ?  No  ;  at  least  not  as  laborer  ; 
otherwise  the  question  were  absurd.  "Its  premises  exclude 
him.  He  gains  a  bare  subsistence  by  his  work  ;  no  more. 
We  are  searching  for  his  surplus  product.     He  has  it  not. 

Is  the  Somebody  the  beggar,  the  invalid,  the  cripple,  the 
discoverer,  the  gambler,  the  highway  robber,  the  burglar,  the 
defaulter,  the  pickpocket'^ or  the  common  swindler?  None 
of  these,  to  any  extent  worth  mentioning.  The  aggregate  of 
wealth  absorbed  by  these  classes  of  our  population  compared 


I7S  -mSTEAD    OF    A   DOC!i:.  ^ 

with  the  vast  mass  produced  is  a  mere  drop  in  the  ocean, 
unworthy  of  consideration  in  studying  a  fundamental  problem 
of  political  economy.  These  people  get  some  wealth,  it  is 
true  ;  enough,  probably,  for  their  own  purposes:  but  labor  can 
spare  them  the  whole  of  it,  and  never  know  the  difference. 

Then  we  have'found  him.  Only  the  usurer  remaining,  he 
must  be  the  Somebody  whom  we  are  looking  for;  he,  and  none 
other.  But  who  is  the  usurer,  and  whence  comes  his  power  ? 
There  are  three  forms  of  usury  :  interest  on  money,  rent  of 
land  and  houses,  and  profit  in  exchange.  Whoever  is  in 
receipt  of  any  of  these  is  a  usurer.  And  who  is  not  ?  Scarcely 
.any  one.  The  banker  is  a  usurer  ;  the  manufacturer  is  a 
usurer;  the  merchant  is  a  usurer;  the  landlord  is  a  usurer;  and 
the  workingman  who  puts  his  savings,  if  he  has  any,  out  at 
interest,  or  takes  rent  for  his  house  or  lot,  if  he  owns  one,  or 
exchanges  his  labor  for  more  than  an  equivalent,— he  too  is  a 
usurer.  The  sin  of  usury  is  one  under  which  all  are  concluded, 
and  for  which  all  are  responsible.  But  all  do  not  benefit  by 
it.  The  vast  majority  suffer.  Only  the  chief  usurers  accumu- 
late: in  agricultural  and  thickly-settled  countries,  the  landlords; 
in  industrial  and  commercial  countries,  the  bankers.  Those 
are  the  Somebodies  who  swallow  up  the  surplus  wealth. 

And  where  do  the  Somebodies  get  their  power  ?  From 
monopoly.  Here,  as  usual,  the  State  is  the  chief  of  sinners. 
Usury  rests  on  two  great  monopolies, — the  monopoly  .of  land 
and  the  monopoly  of  credit.  Were  it  not  for  these,  it  would 
disappear.  Ground-rent  exists  only  because  the  State  stands 
by  to  collect  it  and  to  protect  land-titles  rooted  in  force  or 
fraud.  Otherwise  the  land  would  be  free  to  all,  and  no  one 
could  control  more  than  he  used.  Interest  and  house-rent 
exist  only  because  the  State  grants  to  a  certain  class  of 
individuals  and  corporations  the  exclusive  privilege  of  using 
its  credit  and  theirs  as  a  basis  for  the  issuance  of  circulating 
currency.  Otherwise  credit  would  be  free  to  all,  and  money, 
brought  under  the  law  of  competition,  would  be  issued  at 
cost.  Interest  and  rent  gone,  competition  would  leave  little 
or  no  chance  for  profit  in  exchange  except  in  business 
protected  by  tariff  of  patent  laws.  And  there  again  the  State 
has  but  to  step  aside  to  cause  the  last  vestige  of  usury  to 

The  usurer  is  the  Somebody,  and  the  State  is  his  protector. 
Usury  is  the  serpent  gnawing  at  labor's  vitals,  and  only 
liberty  can  detach  and  kill  it.  Give  laborers  their  liberty,  and 
they  will  keep  their  wealth.  As  for  the  Somebody,  he,  stripped 
of  his  power  to  steal,  must  either  join  their  ranks  or  starve. 



[Liieriy,  September  17,  1881.] 

One  of  the  most  noteworthy  of  Thomas  Jefferson's  sayings 
was  that  he  "  had  rather  Hve  under  newspapers  without  a 
government  than  under  a  government  without  newspapers." 
The  Czar  of  Russia  proposes  to  make  this  alternative  unneces- 
sary by  estabHshing  a  national  weekly  journal  to  be  distributed 
gratuitously  in  every  village,  whose  carefully-concocted  news 
paragraphs,  severely-sifted  political  items,  and  rose-tinted  ed- 
itorials shall  be  read  aloud  on  Sundays  by  designated  offi- 
cials to  the  assembled  multitudes.  This  absurd  proposa:l  is 
no  more  absurd  than  that  of  a  delegate  to  the  State  Conven- 
tion of  the  Massachusetts  Greenbackers,  who  desired  that  the 
government  should  add  to  its  functions  that  of  the  collection 
of  news  to  be  furnished  gratuitously  to  the  daily  journals. 
And  this  again  is  no  more  absurd  than  some  of  the  proposals 
actually  endorsed  by  a  majority  of  the  delegates  to  the  same 
convention,  nearly  all  of  whose  measures  and  methods,  in 
fact,  are  quite  of  a  piece  with  those  of  the  aforesaid  Czar. 

For  instance,  one  of  the  resolutions  adopted  (and  we  grieve 
to  say  that  it  was  introduced  by  no  less  a  person  than  our 
excellent  and  earnest  friend,  J.  M.  L.  Babcock  of  Cambridge) 
asks  the  legislature  to  compel  all  corporations  to  distribute  their 
profits  in  excess  of  six  per  cent,  among  their  employees  in  the 
proportion  of  the  scale  of  wages.  Saying  nothing  of  the  fact 
that  this  resolution  seriously  offends  liberty  by  denying  that 
the  equitable  distribution  of  property  which  the  labor  move- 
ment seeks  must  result,  not  from  legislative  enactment,  but 
from  the  free  play  of  natural  laws,  it  also  offends  equity  by 
admitting  that  capital  is  entitled  to  a  portion  of  labor's 
product,  and  that  the  producer  is  entitled  to  exact  a  profit 
from  the  consumer  !  Yet  we  are  told»  that  only  one  man  in 
that  whole  convention  had  the  brains  and  the  courage  to  rise 
from  his  seat  and  proclaim  the  great  truth  that,  if  labor  can 
claim  anything,  it  can  and  should  claim  all.  What  wonder 
that  this  half-hearted,  half-headed  Greenback  party  excites 
among  intelligent  people  no  sentiment  higher  than  that  of  a 
pity  akin  to  contempt  !  Mr.  Babcock's  resolution  would  take 
the  labor  movement  off  of  its  basis  of  right,  .and  degen- 
erate it  into  an  unprincipled  scramble  for  spoils  by  which  the 
strongest  would  profit.  Take  the  half -loaf  who  will  ;  we  shall 
iiever  cease  to  reiterate  that  the  whole  loaf  rightfully  belongs 

l8o  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

to  those  who  raise  the  wheat  from  the  soil,  grind  it  into  flour, 
and  bake  it  into  bread,  and  not  the  smallest  taste  of  it  to  the 
sharpers  who  deceive  the  unthinking  masses  into  granting 
them  a  monopoly  of  the  opportunities  of  performing  these 
industrial  operations,  which  opportunities  they  in  return  rent 
back  to  the  people  on  condition  of  receiving  the  other  half  of 
the  loaf. 


\_Liberty,  October  i,  1881.] 

My  dear  Mr.  Tucker : 

Why  do  you  "  grieve  "  at  a  difference  of  opinion  between  us  ?  Am  I 
to  be  bribed  to  agree  with  a  valued  friend  by  the  fear  that  he  will  grieve 
if  I  do  not?  Liberty,  I  should  say,  imposes  no  such  burden  on  freedom 
of  thought,  but  rather  rejoices  in  its  fullest  exercise. 

I  did  not  know  that  the  "no-profit"  theory  had  become  so  well  es- 
tablished, or  so  generally  accepted,  as  to  render  ridiculous  any  proposi- 
tion not  based  upon  it. 

Yet  that  is  the  only  point  I  understand  you  to  urge  against  the  measure 
I  proposed.  But  I  never  could  see  that  labor,  in  its  unequal  struggle  for 
its  rights,  gained  anything  by  extravagant  claims.  Whatever  contributes 
to  production  is  entitled  to  an  equitable  share  in  the  distribution.  In  the 
production  of  a  loaf  of  bread  (the  example  which  you  set  forth  in  a  magnif- 
icent paragraph),  the  plough  performs  an  important,  if  not  indispensable 
service,  and  equitably  comes  in  for  a  share  of  the  loaf.  Is  that  share  to  be 
a  slice  which  compensates  only  for  the  wear  and  tear?  It  seems  to  me 
that  it  should  be  slightly  thicker,  even  if  no  more  than  "the  ninth  part  of 
a  hair."  For  suppose  one  man  spends  his  life  in  making  ploughs  to  be 
used  by  others  wfio  sow  and  harvest  wheat.  If  he  furnishes  his  ploughs 
only  on  condition  that  they  be  returned  to  him  in  as  good  state  as  when 
taken  away,  how  is  he  to  get  his  bread  ?  Labor,  empty-handed,  proposes 
to  raise  wheat ;  but  it  can  do  nothing  without  a  plough,  and  asks  the 
loan  of  one  from  the  man  who  made  it.  If  this  man  receives  nothing  more 
than  his  plough  again,  he  receives  nothing  for  the  product  of  his  own  labor, 
and  is  on  the  way  to  starvation.  What  proportion  he  ought  to  receive  is 
another  question,  on  which  I  do  not  enter  here  ;  it  may  be  ever  so  small, 
but  it  should  be  something. 

Capital,  we  will  agree,  has  hitherto  had  the  lion's  share  ;  why  condemn 
a  measure  which  simply  proposes  to  restore  to  labor  a  portion  at  least  of 
what  it  is  entitled  to  ? 

I  say  nothing  on  the  theory  of  "  natural  laws,"  because  I  understood 
you  to  suggest  that  point  only  to  waive  it. 

Cordially  yours, 

J.  M.  L.   Babcock.* 

*  It  should  be  stated  that  a  few  years  after  the  date  of  this  discussion 
Mr.  Babcock  abandoned  the  position  here  taken,  became  a  thorough- 
going opponent  of  interest,  and  has  remained  such  ever  since. 



[From  Ruskin's  Letters  to  British  Workmen.] 

What  you  call  "  wages,"  practically,  is  the  quantity  of  food  which  the 
possessor  of  the  land  gives  you  to  work  for  him.  There  is,  finally,  no 
"  capital  "  but  that.  If  all  the  money  of  all  the  capitalists  in  the  whole 
world  were  destroyed — the  notes  and  bills  burnt,  the  gold  irrecoverably 
buried,  and  all  the  machines  and  apparatus  of  manufactures  crushed, 
by  a  mistake  in  signals,  in  one  catastrophe — and  nothing  remained  but 
the  land,  with  its  animals  and  vegetables,  and  buildings  for  shelter — the 
poorer  population  would  be  very  little  worse  off  than  they  are  at  this  in- 
stant ;  and  their  labor,  instead  of  being  "limited"  by  the  destruction, 
would  be  greatly  stimulated.  They  would  feed  themselves  from  the 
animals  and  growing  crop  ;  heap  here  and  there  a  few  tons  of  ironstone 
together,  build  rough  walls  round  them  to  get  a  blast,  and  in  a  fortnight 
they  would  have  iron  tools  again,  and  be  ploughing  and  fighting,  just 
as  usual.  It  is  only  we  who  had  the  capital  who  would  suffer ;  we 
should  not  be  able  to  live  idle,  as  we  do  now,  and  many  of  us— 1,  for  in- 
stance— should  starve  at  once  ;  but  you,  though  little  the  worse,  would 
none  of  you  be  the  better  eventually  for  our  loss — or  starvation.  The 
removal  of  superfluous  mouths  would  indeed  benefit  you  somewhat  for 
a  time  ;  but  you  would  soon  replace  them  with  hungrier  ones  ;  and  there 
are  many  of  us  who  are  quite  worth  our  meat  to  you  in  different  ways, 
which  I  will  explain  in  due  place  ;  also  I  will  show  you  that  our  money 
is  really  likely  to  be  useful  to  you  in  its  accumulated  form  (besides  that, 
in  the  instances  when  it  has  been  won  by  work,  it  justly  belongs  to  us), 
so  only  that  you  are  careful  never  to  let  us  persuade  you  into  borrowing 
it  and  paying  us  interest  for  it.  You  will  find  a  very  amusing  story,  ex- 
plaining your  position  in  that  case,  at  the  one  hundred  and  seventeenth 
page  of  the  "  Manual  of  Political  Economy,"  published  this  year  at 
Cambridge,  for  your  early  instruction,  in  an  almost  devotionally  cate- 
chetical form,  by  Messrs.  Macmillan. 

Perhaps  I  had  better  quote  it  to  you  entire  ;  it  is  taken  by  the  author 
"  from  the  French." 

"  There  was  once  in  a  village  a  poor  carpenter  who  worked  hard  from 
morning  till  night.  Oneday  James  thought  to  himself,  'With  my  hatchet, 
saw,  and  hammer  I  can  only  make  coarse  furniture,  and  can  only  get  the 
pay  for  such.  If  I  had  a  plane,  I  should  please  my  customers  more,  and 
they  would  pay  me  more.  Yes,  I  am  resolved  I  will  make  myself  a 
plane.'  At  the  end  of  ten  days  James  had  in  his  possession  an  admir- 
able plane  which  he  valued  all  the  more  for  having  made  it  himself. 
Whilst  he  was  reckoning  all  the  profits  which  he  expected  to  derive  from 
the  use  of  it,  he  was  interrupted  by  William,  a  carpenter  in  the  neighbor- 
ing village.  William,  having  admired  the  plane,  was  struck  with  the 
advantages  which  might  be  gained  from  it.     He  said  to  James  : 

"  '  You  must  do  me  a  service;  lend  me  the  plane  for  a  year.'  As  might 
be  expected,  James  cried  out,  '  How  can  you  think  of  such  a  thing,  Will- 
iam?  Well,  if  I  do  you  this  service,  what  will  you  do  for  me  in  return?' 

"  W.  '  Nothing.    Don't  ywx  know  that  a  loan  ought  to  be  gratuitous  ? ' 

l82  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

"/.  '  I  know  nothing  of  the  sort  ;  but  I  do  know  that  if  I  were  to 
!end  you  ray  plane  for  a  year,  it  would  be  giving  it  to  you.  To  tell  you 
ihe  truth,  that  was  not  what  I  made  it  for.' 

"  W.  '  Very  well,  then  ;  I  ask  you  to  do  me  a  service;  what  service  do 
you  ask  me  in  return  ? ' 

"J.  '  First,  then,  in  a  year  the  plane  will  be  done  for.  You  must 
therefore  give  me  another  exactly  like  it.' 

"  W.  '  That  is  perfectly  just.  I  submit  to  these  conditions.  I  think 
you  must  be  satisfied  with  this,  and  can  require  nothing  further.' 

"/.  '  I  think  otherwise.  I  made  the  plane  for  myself,  and  not  for  you. 
I  expected  to  gain  some  advantage  from  it.  I  have  made  the  plane  for 
the  purpose  of  improving  my  work  and  my  condition  ;  if  you  merely 
return  it  to  me  in  a  year,  it  is  you  who  will  gain  the  profit  of  it,  during 
the  whole  of  that  time.  I  am  not  bound  to  do  you  such  a  service  with- 
out receiving  anything  in  return.  Therefore,  if  you  wish  for  my  plane 
besides  the  restoration  already  bargained  for,  you  must  give  me  a  new 
plank  as  a  compensation  for  the  advantages  of  which  I  shall  be  deprived.' 

"These  terms  were  agreed  to,  but  the  singular  part  of  it  is  that  at  the 
end  of  the  year,  when  the  plane  came  into  James's  possession,  he  lent  it 
again  ;  recovered  it,  and  lent  it  a  third  and  fourth  time.  It  has  passed 
into  the  hands  of  his  son,  who  still  le.nds  it.  Let  us  examine  this  little 
story.  The  plane  is  the  symbol  of  all  capital,  and  the  plank  is  the  sym- 
bol of  all  inteiest. " 

If  this  be  an  abridgment,  what  a  graceful  piece  of  highly-wrought  liter- 
ature the  original  story  must  be  !  I  take  the  liberty  of  abridging  it  a 
little  more. 

James  makes  a  plane,  lends  it  to  William  on  ist  of  January  for  a  year. 
William  gives  him  a  plank  for  the  loan  of  it,  wears  it  out,  and  makes 
another  for  James,  which  he  gives  him  on  31st  December.  On  ist  Jan- 
uary he  again  borrows  the  new  one  ;  and  the  arrangement  is  repeated 
continuously.  The  position  of  William  therefore  is  that  he  makes  a 
plane  every  31st  of  December,  lends  it  to  James  till  the  next  day,  and 
pays  James  a  plank  annually  for  the  privilege  of  lending  it  to  him  on  that 
evening.  This,  in  future  investigations  of  capital  and  interest,  we  will 
call,  if  you  please,  "  The  Position  of  William." 

You  may  not  at  the  first  glance  see  where  the  fallacy  lies  (the  writer 
of  the  story  evidently  counts  on  your  not  seeing  it  at  all). 

If  James  did  not  lend  the  plane  to  William,  he  could  only  get  his  gain 
of  a  plank  by  working  with  it  himself  and  wearing  it  out  himself.  When 
he  had  worn  it  out  at  the  end  of  the  year,  he  would,  therefore,  have  to 
make  another  for  himself.  WilViam,  working  with  it  instead,  gets  the 
advantage  instead,  which  he  must,  therefore,  pay  James  his  plank  for; 
and  return  to  James  what  James  would,  if  he  had  not  lent  his  plane, 
then  have  had — not  a  new  plane,  but  the  worn-out  one.  James  must 
make  a  new  one  for  himself,  as  he  would  have  had  to  do  if  no  William 
had  existed  ;  and  if  William  likes  to  borrow  it  again  for  another  plank, 
all  is  fair. 

That  is  to  say,  clearing  the  story  of  its  nonsense,  that  James  makes  a 
plane  annually  and  sells  it  to  William  for  its  proper  price,  which,  in 
kind,  is  a  new  plank.  But  this  arrangement  has  nothing  whatever  to  do 
with  principal  or  with  interest.  There  are,  indeed,  many  very  subtle 
conditions  involved  in  any  sale  ;  one  among  which  is  the  value  of  ideas; 
I  will  explain  that  value  to  you  in  the  course  of  time  (the  article  is  not 
one  which  modern  political  economists  have  any  familiarity  with  deal- 


irigs  in),  and  I  will  tell  you  somewhat  also  of  the  real  nature  of  inter- 
est ;  but  if  you  will  only  get  for  the  present  a  quite  clear  idea  of  "  The 
Position  of  William,"  it  is  all  I  want  of  you. 


\_Lil/erty,  October  i,  1881.] 

Liberty's  strictures,  in  her  last  issue,  upon  the  proposal  of 
the  Massachusetts  Greenbackers,  adopted  at  their  Worcester 
convention,  to  ask  the  legislature  to  compel  all  corporations 
to  distribute  their  profits  in  excess  'of  six  per  cent,  among  the 
employees  in  proportion  to  their  wages  has  stirred  up  Mr. 
J.  M.  L.  Babcock,  the  author  of  that  singular  project,  to  a  de- 
fence of  it.  And  in  defending  it  against  Liberty,  he  is  obliged 
to  do  so  in  behalf  of  capital.  It  seems  a  little  odd  to  find  this 
long-time  defender  of  the  rights  of  labor  in  the  rSle  of  cham- 
pion of  the  claims  of  capital  •;  but  we  remember  that  he  is  one 
who  follows  the  lead  of  justice  as  he  sees  it,  take  him  where  it 

Before  proceeding  to  the  main  question,  he  gives  us  two 
minor  points  to  settle.  First,  he  very  pertinently  asks  why  we 
"  grieve  "  at  his  course.  We  answer  by  taking  it  all  back.  As 
he  says,  Liberty  should  rejoice,  rather  than  grieve,  at  the  honest 
exercise  of  the  right  to  differ.  When  we  hastily  said  other- 
wise, we  said  a  very  foolish  thing.  Yes,  worse  than  that  ;  in 
so  far  we  were  false  to  our  own  standard.  Mr.  Babcock  has 
Liberty's  sincerest  thanks  for  recalling  her  to  her  own  position. 
May  he  and  all  never  fail  to  sharply  prod  us,  whenever  they 
similarly  catch  us  napping  !  * 

Second,  he  assumes  that  the  profit  idea  cannot  be  ridiculous 
(as  we  pronounced  it),  since  its  converse  is  not  well  established 
or  generally  accepted.  To  say  that  the  no-profit  theory  is 
not  well  established  is  to  beg  the  principal  question  under 
discussion  ;  to  say  that,  because  the  theory  is  not  generally 
accepted,  the  few  friends  that  it  has  are  not  entitled  to  ridi- 

*  Reading  this  paragraph  eleven  years  later,  I  am  inclined  to  regret 
that  I  wrote  it.  So  few  are  the  manifestations  of  good  nature  in  my  po- 
lemical writings,  that  I  can  ill  afford  to  disown  any  of  them;  but  it  really 
seems  that  on  this  occasion  I  tried  a  little  too  hard  to  be  fair.  The 
grief  for  which  I  thus  apologized  was  over  the  fact  that  Mr.  Babcock 
held  ;ni  opinion  in  favor  of  injustice, — not  over  the  fact  that,  holding  such 
an  iipinion,  he  gave  expression  (o  it, 

184  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 


cule  the  position  of  its  enemies  is  not  in  accordance  with  the 
nature  of  ideas  or  the  custom  of  Mr.  Babcock.  How  often 
have  we  listened  with  delight  to  his  sarcastic  dissection  and 
merciless  exposure  to  the  light  of  common  sense  of  some 
popular  and  well-jiigh  universal  delusion  in  religion,  politics, 
finance,  or  social  life  !  He  is  in  the  habit  of  holding  ridicu- 
lous all  those  things,  whoever  supports  them,  which  his  own 
reason  pronounces  absurd.  And  he  is  right  in  doing  so,  and 
wrong  in  saying  that  we  ought  not  to  follow  his  example.  So, 
while  it  is  clear  that  on  the  first  minor  point  Mr.  Babcock  has 
the  better  of  Liberty,  on  the  second  Liberty  as  decidedly  has 
the  better  of  Mr.  Babcock. 

Now  to  the  question  proper.  Labor,  says  our  friend,  never 
gains  anything  by  extravagant  claims.  True  ;  and  no  claim 
is  extravagant  that  does  not  exceed  justice.  But  it  is  equally 
true  that  labor  always  loses  by  foolish  concessions  ;  and  in 
this  industrial  struggle  every  concession  is  foolish  that  falls 
short  of  justice.  It  is  to  be  decided,  then,  not  whether  Liberty's 
claim  for  labor  is  extravagant,  but  whether  it  is  just.  "What- 
ever contributes  to  production  is  entitled  to  an  equitable  share 
in  the  distribution  !  "  Wrong  !  Whoever  contributes  to  produc- 
tion is  alone  so  entitled.  What  has  no  rights  that  Who  is 
bound  to  respect.  What  is  a  thing.  Who  is  a  person.  Things 
have  no  claims  ;  they  exist  only  to  be  claimed.  The  posses- 
sion of  a  right  cannot  be  predicated  of  dead  material,  but 
only  of  a  living  person.  "  In  the  production  of  a  loaf  of  bread, 
the  plough  performs  an  important  service,  and  equitably  comes 
in  for  a  share  of  the  loaf."  Absurd  !  A  plough  cannot  own 
bread,  and,  if  it  could,  would  be  unable  to  eat  it.  A  plough  is 
a  What,  one  of  those  things  above  mentioned,  to  which  no 
rights  are  attributable. 

Oh  !  but  we  see,  "  Suppose  one  man  spends  his  life  in 
making  ploughs  to  be  used  by  others  who  sow  and  harvest 
wheat.  If  he  furnishes  his  ploughs  only  on  condition  that 
they  be  returned  to  him  in  as  good  state  as  when  taken  away, 
how  is  he  to  get  his  bread  ?"  It  is  the  maker  of  the  plough, 
then,  and  not  the  plough  itself,  that  is  entitled  to  a  reward  ? 
What  has  given  place  to  Who.  Well,  we'll  not  quarrel  over 
that.  The  maker  of  the  plough  certainly  is  entitled  to  pay  for 
his  work.  Full  pay,  paid  once  ;  no  more.  That  pay  is  the 
plough  itself, or  its  equivalent  in  other  marketable  products,said 
equivalent  being  measured  by  the  amount  of  labor  employed 
in  their  production.  But  if  he  lends  his  plough  and  gets  only 
his  plough  back,  how  is  he  to  get  his  bread  ?  asks  Mr.  Babcock, 
much  concerned.     Ask  us  an  easy  one,  if  you  please.    We  give 


this  one  up.  But  why  should  he  lend  his  plough  ?  Why  does 
he  not  sell  it  to  the  farmer,  and  use  the  proceeds  to  buy  bread 
.of  the  baker  ?  See,  Mr.  Babcock  ?  If  the  lender  of  the  plough 
"  receives  nothing  more  than  his  plough  again,  he  receives  noth- 
ing for  the  product  of  his  own  labor,  and  is  on  the  way  to 
starvation."  Well,  if  the  fool  will  not  sell  his  plough,  let  him 
starve.  Who  cares  ?  It's  his  own  fault.  How  can  he  expect 
to  receive  anything  for  the  product  of  his  own  labor  if  he 
refuses  to  permanently  part  with  it  ?  Does  Mr.  Babcock  pro- 
pose to  steadily  add  to  this  product  at  the  expense  of  some 
laborer,  and  meanwhile  allow  this  idler,  who  has  only  made  a 
plough,  to  loaf  on  in  luxury,  for  the  balance  of  his  life,  on  the 
strength  of  his  one  achievement  ?  -  Certainly  not,  when  our 
friend  understands  himself.  And  then  he  will  say  with  us 
that  the  slice  of  bread  which  the  plough-lender  should  receive 
can  be  neither  large  nor  small,  but  must  be  nothing. 

To  that  end  we  commend  to  Mr.  Babcock  the  words  of 
his  own  candidate  for  Secretary  of  State,  nominated  at  the 
Worcester  convention,  A.  B.  Brown,  editor  of  The  Republic, 
who  says  :  "  The  laborers  of  the  world,  instead  of  having  only 
a  small  fraction  of  the  wealth  in  the  world,  should  have  all 
the  wealth.  To  effect  this  all  monopolies  should  be  termina- 
ted,— whether  they  be  monopolies  of  single  individuals  or 
'  majorities,' — and  labor-cost  must  be  recognized  as  the  measure 
and  limit  of  price."  If  Mr.  Brown  sticks  to.  these  words,  and 
the  Greenbackers  to  their  platform,  there  is  going  to  be  a 
collision,  and  Mr.  Brown  will  keep  the  track.  But  lest  Mr. 
Brown's  authority  should  not  prove  sufficient,  we  refer  Mr. 
Babcock  further  to  one  of  his  favorite  authors,  John  Ruskin, 
who  argues  this  very  point  on  Mr.  Babcock's  own  ground, 
except  that  he  illustrates  his  position  by  a  plane  instead  of  a 
.plough.  Mr.  Babcock  may  find  his  words  under  the  heading, 
"  The  Position  of  William,"  immediately  following  his  own 
letter  to  us.  If  he  succeeds  in  showing  Mr.  Brown's  assertions 
to  be  baseless  and  Mr.  Ruskin's  arguments  to  be  illogical,  he 
may  then  come  to  Liberty  for  other  foes  to  conquer.  Till 
then  we  shall  be  but  an  interested  spectator  of  his  contest. 

l86  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 


[Liberty,  October  15,  1881.] 

My  dear  Mr.  Tucker  : 

It  is  entirely  immaterial  in  this  discussion  whether  my  position  is 
"odd  "or  otherwise.  The  question  at  issue  must  be  settled,  if  settled 
at  all,  on  its  own  merits  ;  and  no  prejudice  either  for  or  against  capital 
can  affect  the  argument.     Let  us  burden  it  with  no  irrelevant  matter. 

My  question  was  simply  this  ;  Is  a  man  who  loans  a  plough  entitled  in 
equity  to  compensation  for  its  use  ;  and  if  not,  why  not? 

This  question  (I  say  it  with  all  respect)  you  evade.  But,  until  it  is 
answered,  no  progress  can  be  made  in  this  inquiry,  It  is  no  answer  to 
say,  "Let  him  sell  his  plough."  He  doesnot  sell  it  ;  he  loans  it,  as  he 
has  a  natural  right  to  do.  Another  borrows  it,  as  he  has  a  natural  right 
to  do.      I  repeat :   Is  it  just  to  pay  for  its  use  ? 

You  gain  nothing  when  you  say,  "Let  him  sell";  for.  if  I  followed 
you  there,  it  would  only  be  to  present  the  same  question  substantially  in 
another  form.  You  might  then  suggest  another  alternative,  until  we 
"  swung  round  the  circle,"  and  came  back  to  the  first.  So  let  us  save 
time  and  meet  it  at  once.  If  it  cannot  be  met  where  I  proposed  it,  I  do 
not  see  that  It  can  be  answered  anywhere.  If  your  theory  will  not  bear 
an  application  to  the  example  I  stated,  what  is  it  good  for  ?  I  have  never 
seen  a  good  reason  why  the  plough-maker  is  not  entitled  to  pay  for  the 
use  of  his  plough. 

You  refer  me  to  certain  "authorities," — Brown  and  Ruskin.  I  do  not 
bow  to  authorities  on  questions  of  this  nature  ;  and  I  supposed  you  did 
not.  I  ask  for  a  reason,  not  a  name.  Brown's  proposition,  which  I 
affirm  as  stoutly  as  he  does,  does  not  answer  m'y  question.  Ruskin  is 
equally  remote.  He  concludes  that  the  case  he  examines  is  one  of  sale 
and  purchase.  That  is  not  the  case  I  stated  at  all.  If  there  be  an 
answer  to  my  question,  I  am  sure  you  are  capable  of  stating  it. 

Yours  cordially, 

J.  M.  L.  Babcock. 

We  have  no  wish  to  vyaste  these  columns  in  repetition  ;  but 
this  charge  of  evasion  is  a  serious  one,  which  can  be  thor- 
oughly examiried  only  by  reviewing  ground  already  traversed. 
One  of  the  objects  that  we  had  in  view  in  beginning  the 
publication  of  this  journal  was  the  annihilation  of  usury. 
If  in  our  first  direct  conflict  with  a  supporter  of  usury  we  have 
been  guilty  of  evasion,  we  are  unfitted  for  our  task,  and  ought 
to  abandon  it  to  hands  more  competent.  But  we  unhesitatingly 
plead  "  not  guilty." 

Mr.  Babcock  argued  that  the  man  who  makes  a  plough  and 
lends  it  is  entitled  to  a  portion  of  the  loaf  subsequently  pro- 
duced in  addition  to  the  return  of  his  plough  intact.  He  now 
asserts  that  we  answered  this  by  saying,  "  Let  him  sell  his 
plough."  No,  we  did  not.    On  the  principle  that  onlv  labor  cw 


be  an  equitable  basis  of  price,  we  argued  in  reply  as  follows: 
"  The  maker  of  the  plough  certainly  is  entitled  to  pay  for  his 
work.  Full  pay,  paid  once  ;  no  more.  That  pay  is  the  plough 
itself,  or  its  equivalent  in  other  marketable  products,  said 
equivalent  being  measured  by  the  amount  of  labor  employed 
in  their  production."  True  or  false,  this  answer  is  direct  and 
tangible  ;  in  no  sense  is  it  evasive.  Then  Mr.  Babcock  asked 
this  other  and  distinct  question:  "  If  he  furnishes  his  ploughs 
only  on  condition  that  they  be  returned  to  him  in  as  good 
state  as  when  taken  away,  how  is  he  to  get  his  bread  ? "  We 
replied  that  we  did  not  know,' and  that,  if  he  was  such  a  fool 
as  to  do  so,  we  did  not  care.  Nothing  evasive  here,  either  ; 
on  the  contrary,  utter  frankness.  Touched  a  little,  however, 
by  Mr.  Babcock's  sympathy  with  the  usurer  thus  threatened 
with  starvation,  we  ventured  the  suggestion  that,  instead  of 
lending  his  plough  to  the  farmer,  he  might  sell  it  to  him,  and 
thus  get  money  wherewith  to  buy  bread  of  the  baker.  This 
advice  was  gratuitous,  we  know  ;  possibly  it  was  impertinent, 
also  ;  but  was  it  evasive  ?     Not  in  the  least. 

Finally,  thinking  that  Mr.  Babcock  might  agree,  as  we  do, 
with  Novalis  that  a  man's  belief  gains  quite  infinitely  the  mo- 
ment another  mind  is  convinced  thereof,  we  called  his  atten- 
tion to  two  other  minds  in  harmony  with  ours  on  the  point 
now  in  dispute,  A.  B.  Brown  and  John  Ruskin.  But  not  as 
authorities,  in  Mr.  Babcock's  sense  of  the  word.  Still,  Mr. 
Brown  being  Mr.  Babcock's  candidate  for  Secretary  of  State, 
and  party  candidates  being  supposedly  representative  in  things 
fundamental,  we  deemed  it  not  out  of  place  to  cite  a  proposi- 
tion from  Mr.  Brown  that  seemed  to  us,  on  its  face,  directly 
contradictory  of  Mr.  Babcock.  To  our  astonishment  Mr.  Bab- 
cock accepts  it  as  not  inconsistent  with  his  position,  at  the 
same  time  declaring  it  irrelevant.  Argument  ends  here.  If 
we  hold  up  two  objects,  one  of  which,  to  our  eyes,  is  red  and 
the  other  blue,  and  Mr.  Babcock  declares  that  both  are  red, 
it  is  useless  to  discuss  the  matter.  One  of  us  is  color-blind. 
The  ultimate  verdict  of  mankind  will  decide  which.  In  quot- 
ing from  Mr.  Ruskin,  however,  we  did  not  ask  Mr.  Babcock  to 
accept  him  as  authority,  but  to  point  out  the  weakness  of  an 
argument  drawn  from  an  illustration  similar  to  Mr.  Babcock's. 
Mr.  Babcock  replies  by  denying  the  similarity,  saying  that 
Ruskin  "  concludes  that  the  case  he  examines  is  one  of  sale 
and  purchase."  Let  us  see.  Ruskin  is  examining  a  story  told 
by  Bastiat  in  illustration  and  defence  of  usury.  After  printing 
Bastiat's  version  of  it,  he  abridges  it  thus,  stripping  away  all 
mystifying  clauses: 

i88  INsteaB  of  a  book. 

James  makes  a  plane,  lends  it  to  William  on  ist  of  January  for  a  year. 
William  gives  him  a  plank  for  the  loan  of  it,  wears  it  out,  and  makeS 
another  for  James,  which  he  gives  him  on  31st  December.  On  ist 
January  he  again  borrows  the  new  one  ;  and  the  arrangement  is  repeated 
continuously.  The  position  of  William,  therefore,  is  that  he  makes  a 
plane  every  31st  of  December  ;  lends  it  to  James  till  the  next  day,  and 
pays  James  a  plank  annually  for  the  privilege  of  lending  it  to  him  on 
that  evening. 

Substitute  in  the  foregoing  "  plough  "  for  "  plane,"  and 
"  loaf "  or  "  slice  "  for  "  plank,"  and  the  story  differs  in  no 
essential  point  from  Mr.  Babcock's.  How  monstrously  unjust 
the  transaction  is  can  be  plainly  seen.  Ruskin  next  shows  how 
this  unjust  transaction  may  be  changed  into  a  just  one  : 

If  James  did  not  lend  the  plane  to  William,  he  could  only  get  his  gain 
of  a  plank  by  working  with  it  himself  and  wearing  it  out  himself.  When 
he  had  worn  it  out  at  the  end  of  the  year,  he  would,  therefore,  have  to 
make  another  for  himself.  William,  working  with  it  instead,  gets  the 
advantage  instead,  which  he  must,  therefore,  pay  James  his  plank  for; 
and  return  to  James  what  James  would,  if  he  had  not  lent  his  plane, 
then  have  had — not  a  new  plane,  but  the  worn-out  one.  James  must 
make  a  new  one  for  himself,  as  he  would  have  had  to  do  if  no  William 
had  existed  ;  and  if  William  likes  to  borrow  it  again  for  another  plank,  all 
is  fair.  That  is  to  say,  clearing  the  story  of  its  nonsense,  that  James 
makes  a  plane  annually  and  sells  it  to  William  for  its  proper  price, 
which,  in  kind,  is  a  new  plank. 

It  is  this  latter  transaction,  w^holly  different  from  the  former, 
that  Ruskin  pronounces  a  "  sale,"  having  "  nothing  whatever  to 
do  with  principal  or  with  interest."  And  yet,  according  to 
Mr.  Babcock,  "  the  case  he  examines  [Bastiat's,  of  course]  is 
one  of  sale  and  purchase."  We  understand  now  how  it  is  that 
Mr.  Babcock  can  charge  us  with  evasion.  He  evidently  con- 
ceives his  method  of  meeting  a  point  to  be  straightforward.  If 
it  be  so,  certainly  ours  is  evasive.  If,  on  the  other  hand,  our 
course  has  been  straightforward,  evasion  is  too  mild  a  term  for 
his.  It  is  better  described  as  fiat  misstatement  ;  purely  care- 
less, of  course,  but  scarcely  less  excusable  than  if  wilful. 
Again  we  invite  our  friend  to  a  careful  examination  (and 
refutation,  if  possible)  of  the  arguments  advanced. 

Money  ajstd  interest.  189 


{Liiertyy  November  12,  1881.] 

Mr.    Tucker : 

In  your  issue  of  October  15,  I  notice  a  question  by  J.  M.  L.  Babcock, 
and,  although  you  have  answered  it,  yet  I  beg  to  give  my  answer.  The 
question  is  this  :  "  Is  a  man  who  loans  a  plough  entitled  in  equity  to 
compensation  for  its  use  ?"  My  answer  is,  "  Yes."  Now,  then,  what  of 
it?  Does  that  make  something  for  nothing  right?  Let  us  see.  We 
must  take  it  for  granted  that  the  loaning  of  the  plough  was  a  good  business 
transaction.  Such  being  the  case,  the  man  who  borrows  the  plough  must 
give  good  security  that  he  will  return  the  plough  and  pay  for  what  he  wears 
out.  He  must  have  the  wealth  or  the  credit  to  make  the  owner  of  the 
plough  whole  in  case  he  should  break  or  lose  the  plough.  Now,  I  claim 
that  this  man,  having  the  wealth  or  credit  to  secure  a  borrowed  plough, 
could  transmute  that  same  credit  or  security  into  money,  without  cost, 
and  with  the  money  buy  a  plough,  were  it  not  for  a  monopoly  of  money. 
For  a  monopoly  of  money  implies  a  monopoly  of  everything  that  money 
will  buy. 

If  the  people  should  give  to  landholders,  as  a  right,  what  they  now 
give  to  bondholders  as  a  special  privilege — why,  you  might  loan  ploughs 
for  a  price,  but  the  price  would  not  include  a  money  cost,  as  is  inevitable 
under  our  present  monetary  system. 

Letnis  remember  that  an  individual  transaction  under  a  system  of  mo- 
nopoly does  not  represent  nor  illustrate  the  truth  as  it  would  be  under  a 
natural  or  just  system.  Again,  superficial  ideas  do  not  always  harmo- 
nize with  the  central  truth. 

Briefly,  but  truly  yours, 


ATTENTION,  "  APEX  !  " 

{^Liberty,  November  26,  1881.] 

My  dear  Mr.    Tucker: 

Allow  me  just  to  say  that  "  Apex  "  is  in  error  in  supposing  he  has  an- 
swered my  question.  It  appears  by  his  own  comment  that  his  "Yes" 
means  that  the  plough-lender  is  entitled  to  pay  for  the  wear  and  tear  of 
the  plough.  I  asked  :  Is  he  entitled  to  pay  for  its  use?  I  marvel  that  he 
should  overlook  the  distinction,  for  I  had  been  careful  to  mark  it  in 
my  first  statement.  When  the  question  as  I  put  it  is  answered  in  the 
affirmative,  I  shall  be  ready  to  answer  the  other,  "What  of  it?"  But  I 
am  still  left  to  the  mournful  impression  that  my  question  is  not'answered. 

Yours  cordially, 

J.  M.  L.  Babcock. 

100  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

[Liberty^  November  26,  1881.] 

Paying  money  for  the  use  of  money  is  a  great  and  barbarous  wrong.  It 
is  also  a  stupendous  absurdity.  No  one  man  can  use  money.  The  use 
of  money  involves  its  transfer  from  one  to  another.  Therefore,  as  no  one 
man  can  use  money,  it  cannot  be  right  and  proper  for  any  man  to  pay  for 
the  use  of  that  which  he  cannot  use.  The  people  do  use  money  ;  conse- 
quently, they  should  pay  whatever  the  money  may  cost. 

Money  is  necessarily  a  thing  which  belongs  to  society.  This  is  one  of 
the  great  truths  of  civilization  which  has  been  generally  overlooked.  For 
this  whole  question  of  the  rightfulness  of  interest  turns  on  the  question, 
' '  What  is  money  ? "  So  long  as  the  people  shall  continue  to  consider 
money  as  a  thing  of  itself  objectively — why,  there  is  no  hope  for  humanity. 

All  wealth  is  the  product  of  labor,  but  no  labor  can  produce  money. 
There  can  be  no  money  until  some  wealth  has  been  produced,  because 
money  is  a  representative  of  wealth. 

Money  is  a  form  of  credit — credit  in  circulation.  It  is  not  a  thing  of 
substance.  The  great  object  of  money  is  to  exchange  values.  Now,  value 
is  an  idea,  and  money  is  used  to  represent,  count,  and  exchange  values. 
The  symbol  or  token  of  money  is  not  the  money  itself.  Therefore,  as 
money  is  not  a  thing  of  substance,  and  cannot  wear  out,  it  is  and  ever 
must  be  a  great  wrong  and  an  utter  absurdity  to  give  wealth  for  the  use  of 
an  idea. 

In  equity  compensation  implies  service  or  labor,  and  as  money  does  not 
cost  labor,  why,  labor  cannot  justly  be  demanded  for  its  use. 

But  let  us  look  at  it  practically.  The  people  use  money  ;  the  people 
furnish  the  money  ;  and,  if  the  cost  of  issue  is  paid,  there  can  be  no  other 
expense.  The  great  difficulty  touching  this  whole  matter  is  a  barbarous 
misconception  of  the  nature  of  money  and  a  more  barbarous  disposition 
to  monopolize  power  and  rob  the  weak.  For — let  us  ask — who  pays  the 
great  tax  of  interest?  Not  those  who  have  and  handle  the  money  ;  not 
those  who  use  the  money  ;  but  the  poor,  the  weak,  the  ignorant,  the  dupes 
of  the  ruling  class.  We  can  illustrate  this  by  a  fact  of  to-day.  If  five  or 
more  men  liaving  one  hundred  thousand  dollars,  and  no  more,  organize 
and  establish  a  national  bank,  just  so  soon  as  their  bank  is  in  operation 
they  have  the  use  and  income  of  one  hundred  and  ninety  thousand  dollars. 
Now,  is  it  not  clear  that,  this  company  having  got  ninety  thousand  dollars 
for  nothing,  somebody  has  lost  that  amount?  For,  if  one  man  gets  a 
dollar  that  he  has  not  earned,  some  other  man  has  earned  a  dollar  that  he 
has  not  got.     That  is  as  certain  as  that  two  and  two  make  four. 

If  all  men  could  use  their  own  credit  in  the  form  of  money,  there  could 
be  no  such  thing  as  interest.  Yet,  to  put  this  idea  into  practice,  there 
must  be  organization  and  consolidation  of  credit.  Commercial  credit,  to 
be  good,  must  be  known  to  be  good.  A  man's  credit  may  be  good  to  the 
extent  of  a  thousand  dollars,  but,  that  fact  not  being  generally  known,  he 
must,  as  things  are,  exchange  his  credit  for  that  which  is  known  to  be 
good,  and  pay  a  monopoly  price  for  the  privilege  of  using  his  own  credit 
in  the  form  of  money. 

Let  us  remember  that  no  man  can  borrow  money,  as  a  good  business 
transaction,  under  any  system,  unless  he  has  the  required  security  to  make 
the  lender  whole  in  case  he  should  lose  the  money.     What  a  stupendous 

MONEY    And    iNTEREST.  I9I 

wrong  is  this — that  a  man  having  credit  cannot  use  it,  but  must  exchange 
it  and  pay  a  monopoly  price,  which  is  really  for  the  privilege  of  using  his 
own  credit! 

And  again,  he  cannot  pay  this  himself,  but  must  compel  the  poor  man 
to  work  out  this  tax  ;  the  latter  must  pay  this  interest  in  the  enhanced 
price  of  goods.  I  wonder  if  the  people  will  always  be  thus  blind  and 
stupid  ! 

So  long  as  business  men,  as  such,  and  laborers  shall  continue  to  per- 
mit the  few  shrewd  moneyed  men  to  monopolize  commercial  credit — 
that  is,  money— just  so  long  will  it  be  hard  times  for  business  and 
labor.  What  we  want  now  is  the  organization  of  credit  on  a  just  and 
equal  plan.  William  B.  Greene  solved  this  whole  matter  and  summed 
it  up  in  two  words  :  "  Mutual  Banking."     That  is  what  we  want. 



[Liberty,  December  10,  1881.] 

"  Apex  "  says  that  it  is  a  barbarism  to  pay  interest  on  money.  That  is 
another  way  of  saying  that  a  state  of  society  in  which  wealth  is  not 
universalized  is  barbarous,  since,  in  our  present  stage  of  evolution, 
those  who  have  no  capital  of  their  own  will  be  glad  to  borrow  from 
those  who  have,  and  to  pay  interest  for  the  use  of  the  capital. 

For  it  is  really  capital  that  is  borrowed,  and  not  money,  the  latter 
being  only  the  means  for  obtaining  the  former,  as  money  would  be 
worthless  if  it  could  not  be  exchanged  for  the  capital  needed.  We  see 
already  that,  as  the  loanable  capital  of  a  country  increases,  the  rate  of 
interest  diminishes,  and  when  the  accumulated  wealth  of  the  world  be- 
comes large  enough  no  one  will  pay  interest. 

But  to  denounce  the  payment  of  interest  to-day,  and  (if  it  could  be 
done)  to  forbid  the  man  of  ability;  but  lacking  means,  borrowing  the 
capital  he  needs,  or,  in  other  words,  using  his  credit,  would  not  tend  to 
universalize  wealth  and  so  destroy  usury  ;  but,  on  the  other  hand,  it 
would  discourage  the  production  and  accumulation  of  capital,  since  one 
of  the  principal  incentives  to  that  production  is  the  use  of  capital  to  in- 
crease production  and  add  to  one's  wealth.  It  is  obvious  that,  unless 
[he  use  of  capital  added  to  the  productiveness  of  labor,  no  one  would 
wish  to  borrow,  and  no  usury  could  be  had.  It  should  not  be  forgotten, 
in  considering  this  question,  that,  in  the  laSt  analysis,  reducing  things  to 
their  simplest,  individualized  form,  the  possessor  of  capital  has  acquired  it 
by  a  willingness  to  work  harder  than  his  fellows  and  to  sacrifice  his  love 
of  spending  all  he  produces  that  he  may  have  the  aid  of  capital  to 
increase  his  power  of  production.  For  example,  two  men  work  side  by 
side  ;  one  consumes  all  he  produces,  the  other  saves  part  of  his  product. 
In  time  the  latter  has  saved  enough  to  enable  him  to  build  or  buy  a  tool 
by  the  aid  of  which  he  accomplishes  four  times  as  much  work  as  before, 
and  is  able  to  go  on  adding  to  his  accumulation.  The  one  who  has  not 
saved,  seeing  the  advantage  of  the  use  of  capital,  naturally  desires  to 
obtain  the  same  benefit  for  himself  ;  but,  not  liking  to  save  and  wait  until 
he  can  create  capital,  he  proposes  to  borrow  a  portion   of  the  capital  of 

igi  INSTEAD    OP    A    BOOK. 

the  other.  By  means  of  this  borrowed  capital  he  can  quadruple  h's 
product,  and  is  very  willing  to  give  a  part  of  his  increased  product  lo 
the  neighbor  who  has  befriended  him.  Would  he  not  be  a  mean  sneak 
if  he  were  not  glad  to  do  so  ?  By  the  use  of  the  borrowed  capital  he  is 
not  only  enabled  to  pay  for  the  advantage  gained,  but,  by  his  greater 
power  to  produce,  he  can,  in  a  short  time,  buy  his  own  tools  and  no 
longer  be  forced  to  borrow. 

Although  our  present  system  of  business  is  vastly  complicated,  and 
we  sometimes  seem  to  borrow  money  merely,  the  actual  transaction  being 
kept  out  of  sight,  yet  the  case  supposed  is  the  real  basis  of  all  just  pay- 
ment of  interest.  I  believe  there  will  be  a  state  of  society  in  which 
money  will  not  be  necessary,  but  that  state  cannot  be  built  up  by  com- 
mencing at  the  top.  We  must  build  from  the  foundation,  understanding 
things  as  they  are  as  well  as  knowing  how  they  ought  to  be. 

The  question  is  asked — and  it  is  a  very  important  one,  and,  simple  as 
it  is  dt  bottom,  a  complex  one  as  it  stands —  What  is  money?  It  would 
simplify  this  matter  very  much  if  all  would  agree  to  call  coin,  or  money 
having  value  as  merchandise,  money,  and  paper,  or  representative 
money,  currency,  or  notes.  It  is  plain  that  the  representative  money  is 
that  which  must  be  and  is  principally  used  in  this  country  and  in  all  com- 
mercial countries.  Coin  money  derives  its  real  value  in  exchange,  and 
as  a  measure  for  the  exchangeable  value  of  other  products,  from  the  _ 
fact  that  it  costs  labor  to  produce  it  ;  and,  although  government  laws 
may  foolishly  try  to  make  it  pass  for  more  than  its  cost  value,  they 
never  succeed  in  doing  so.  No  government  ever  has  succeeded  in  over- 
riding natural  law,  though  they  may  and  often  do  obstruct  the  operations 
of  Nature's  laws  to  the  great  detriment  of  Nature's  children. 

The  simplest  form  of  representative  money,  or  currency,  is  fur- 
nished by  Josiah  Warren's  labor  note,  which  was  substantially  as  follows 
(I  quote  from  memory) : 

For  value  received,  I  promise  to  pay  bearer,  on  demand,  one  hour's  labor, 
or  ten  pounds  of  corn. 

Josiah  Warren. 
Modern  Times,  July  4,  1852. 

So  long  as  it  was  believed  by  his  neighbors  that  the  maker  of  such 
notes  always  had  the  corn  on  hand  with  which  to  redeem  them  (since 
their  redemption  in  labor  would  rarely  be  practicable  or  desirable),  they 
would  pass  current  in  that  locality  ;  and,  in  fact,  such  "  labor  notes  " 
did  pass  to  a  limited  extent  at  Modern  Times.  Interesting  as  that  ex- 
periment was,  and  showing  clearly,  as  it  does,  the  principle  at  the  basis 
of  all  good  currency,  it  could  not  be  extended  so  as  to  satisfy  the  needs 
of  a  great  commercial  country,  or,  safely,  of  a  large  neighborhood. 

But  a  currency,  to  be  good,  must  possess  precisely  the  qualifications 
and  qualities  of  that  labor  note,  with  the  addition  of  a  guaranty,  uni- 
versally recognizable,  that  the  notes  actually  do  represent  solid  wealth 
with  which  they  will  be  redeemed  on  demand.  Now,  there  is  one  thitig, 
and  only  one,  that  government  can  rightfully  or  usefully  do  in  the  way 
of  interference  with  the  currency,  the  ebb  and  flow  of  which  is  governed 
by  natural  laws  altogether  out  of  the  reach  of  State  or  national  govern- 
ments ;  and  that  is  to  issue  all  the  notes  used  foi  currency  on  such 
terms  that  it  shall  be  universally  known  truly  to  represent  actual,  mov- 
able capital  (not  land,  which  is  not  properly  in  the  true  sense,  and  which 
cannot  be  carried  off  by  any  one  wishing  a  note  redeemed),  pledged  for 


its  redemption.  There  should  be  no  monopoly,  but  any  and  every  per- 
son complying  with  the  terms  should  be  furnished  with  the  national  note. 
Of  course,  no  one  who  had  not  the  requisite  capital  could  procure  these 
notes,  and  rightly  so,  because  notes  made  by  those  who  have  no  capital 
would  swindle  the  people.  And,  as  our  government  has  no  property  or 
capital,  except  the  necessary  tools  for  carrying  on  the  affairs  of  the 
nation,  and  as  government  should  have  no  debts  and  no  gold  and  silver 
accumulated,  it  is  obvious  that  it  cannot  properly  make  a  good  note  be- 
yond the  amount  which  could  be  redeemed  in  payment  of  taxes.  And, 
as  taxes  ought  to  be  diminished  and  ultimately  abolished,  there  is  no  valid 
basis  for  a  government  note  to  be  used  as  currency.  Neither  will  Mu- 
tual Banks  answer  any  good  purpose  if  the  notes  are  based  on  land. 


The  remarks  that  follow  are  not  intended  to  debar  "  Apex  " 
from  answering  his  opponent  in  his  own  time  and  way,  but 
simply  to  combat,  from  Liberty's  standpoint,  such  of  the  posi- 
tions taken  by  "Basis"  as  seem  to  need  refutation. 

The  first  error  into  which  "  Basis  "  falls  is  his  identification 
of  money  with  capital.  Representative  money  is  not  capital ; 
it  is  only  a  title  to  capital.  He  who  borrows  a  paper  dollar 
from  another  simply  borrows  a  title. f  Consequently  he  takes 
from  the  lender  nothing  which  the  lender  wishes  to  use  ;  unless, 
indeed,  the  lender  desires  to  purchase  capital  with  his  dollar, 
in  which  case  he  will  not  lend  it,  or,  if  he  does,  will  charge 
for  the  sacrifice  of  his  opportunity, — a  very  different  thing  from 
usury,  which  is  payment,  not  for  the  lender's  sacrifice,  but 
for  the  borrower's  use;  that  is,  not  for  a  burden  borne,  but  for  a 
benefit  conferred.  Neither  does  the  borrower  of  the  dollar  take 
from  the  person  of  whom  he  purchases  capital  with  it  anything 
which  that  person  desires  to  use  ;  for,  in  ordinary  commerce, 
the  seller  is  either  a  manufacturer  or  a  dealer,  who  produces 
or  buys  his  stock  for  no  other  purpose  than  to  sell  it.  And 
thence  this  dollar  goes  on  transferring  products  for  which  the 
holders  thereof  have  no  use,  until  it  reaches  its  issuer  and 
final  redeemer  and  is  cancelled,  depriving,  in  the  course  of  its 
journey,  no  person  of  any  opportunity,  but,  on  the  contrary, 

*  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  "  Basis,"  abandoning  later  the  theory 
of  interest  maintained  by  him  in  the  above  article,  took  the  initiative  in 
the  formation  of  a  society  for  the  abolition  of  interest,  and  now  considers 
such  abolition  essential  to  the  solution  of  the  social  problem. 

f  Nevertheless,  to  everybody  but  the  issuer,  representative  money  is 
capital  to  all  intents  and  purposes,  because  it  will  procure  capital.  But 
to  the  issuer  it  is  not  capital,  because  he  issues  it  against  security  belong- 
ing not  to  himself  but  to  the  borrower,  would  not  be  able  to  issue  it  were 
it  not  for  such  security,  and  therefore  parts  with  nothing  in  issuing  it. 
Now  the  idea  that  money  is  capital  does  not  sustain  the  position  of 
"  Basis,"  unless  it  be  taken  to  mean  that  money  is  capital  to  the  issuer. 

194  INSTEAD   OP   A   BOOK. 

serving  the  needs  of  all  through  whose  hands  it  passes.  Hence 
borrowing  a  title  to  capital  is  a  very  different  thing  from 
borrowing  capital  itself.  But  under  the  system  of  organized 
credit  contemplated  by  "  Apex  "  no  capable  and  deserving 
person  would  borrow  even  a  title  to  capital.  The  so-called 
borrower  would  simply  so  change  the  face  of  his  own  title  as 
to  make  it  recognizable  by  the  world  at  large,  and  at  no  other 
expense  than  the  mere  cost  of  the  alteration.  That  is  to  say, 
the  man  having  capital  or  good  credit,  who,  under  the  system 
advocated  by  "  Apex,"  should  go  to  a  credit-shop — in  other 
words,  a  bank — and  procure  a  certain  amount  of  its  notes  by 
the  ordinary  processes  of  mortgaging  property  or  getting 
endorsed  commercial  paper  discounted,  would  only  exchange 
his  own  personal  credit — known  only  to  his  immediate  friends 
and  neighbors  and  the  bank,  and  therefore  useless  in  trans- 
actions with  any  other  parties — for  the  bank's  credit,  known 
and  receivable  for  products  delivered  throughout  the  State, 
or  the  nation,  or  perhaps  the  world.  And  for  this  convenience 
the  bank  would  charge  him  only  the  labor-cost  of  its  service 
in  effecting  the  exchange  of  credits,  instead  of  the  ruinous 
rates  of  discount  by  which,  under  the  present  system  of  mo- 
nopoly, privileged  banks  tax  the  producers  of  unprivileged 
property  out  of  house  and  home.  So  that  "Apex"  really 
would  have  no  borrowing  at  all,  except  in  certain  individual 
cases  not  worth  considering  ;  and,  therefore,  when  "  Basis," 
answering  "  Apex,"  says  that  "  it  is  really  capital  that  is 
borrowed,  and  not  money,"  he  makes  a  remark  for  which  there 
is  no  audible  call. 

The  second  error  commited  by  "  Basis "  he  commits  in 
common  with  the  economists  in  assuming  that  an  increase  of 
capital  decreases  the  rate  of  interest  and  that  nothing  else  can 
materially  decrease  it.  The  facts  are  just  the  contrary.  The 
rate  of  interest  may,  and  often  does,  decrease  when  the  amount 
of  capital  has  not  increased  ;  the  amount  of  capital  may  in- 
crease without  decreasing  the  rate  of  interest,  which  may  in 
fact  increase  at  the  same  time  ;  and  so  far  from  the  univer- 
salization  of  wealth  being  the  sole  means  of  abolishing  interest, 
the  abolition  of  interest  is  the  sine  qua  non  of  the  universaliza- 
tion  of  wealth. 

Suppose,  for  instance,  that  the  banking  business  of  a  nation 
is  conducted  by  a  system  of  banks  chartered  and  regulated  by 
the  government,  these  banks  issuing  paper  money  based  on 
specie,  dollar  for  dollar.  If  now  a  certain  number  of  these 
banks,  by  combining  to  buy  up  the  national  legislature,  should 
secure  the  exclusive  privilege  of  issuing  two  paper  dollars  for 


each  specie  dollar  in  their  vaults,  could  they  not  afford  to,  and 
would  they  not  in  fact,  materially  reduce  their  rate  of  discount  ? 
Would  not  the  competing  banks  be  forced  to  reduce  their 
rate  in  consequence  ?  And  would  not  this  reduction  lower  the 
rate  of  interest  throughout  the  nation  ?  Undoubtedly;  and  yet 
the  amount  of  capital  in  the  country  remains  the  same  as 

Suppose,  further,  that  during  the  following  year,  in  conse- 
quence of  the  stimulus  given  to  business  and  production  by 
this  decrease  in  the  rate  of  interest  and  also  because  of 
unusually  favorable  natural  conditions,  a  great  increase  of 
wealth  occurs.  If  then  the  banks  of  the  nation,  holding 
from  the  government  a  monopoly  of  the  power  to  issue  money, 
should  combine  to  contract  the  volume  of  the  currency,  could 
they  not,  and  would  they  not,  raise  the  rate  of  interest  thereby  ? 
Undoubtedly  ;  and  yet  the  amount  of  capital  in  the  country  is 
greater  than  it  ever  was  before. 

But  suppose,  on  the  other  hand,  that  all  these  banks, 
chartered  and  regulated  by  the  government  and  issuing  money 
dollar  for  dollar,  had  finally  been  allowed  to  issue  paper  be- 
yond their  capital  based  on  the  credit  and  guaranteed  capital  of 
their  customers  ;  that  their  circulation,  thus  doubly  secured, 
had  become  so  popular  that  people  preferred  to  pay  their  debts 
in  coin  instead  of  bank-notes,  thus  causing  coin  to  flow  into 
the  vaults  of  the  banks  and  add  to  their  reserve  ;  that  this 
addition  had  enabled  them  to  add  further  to  their  circulation, 
until,  by  a  continuation  of  the  process,  it  at  last  amounted 
to  eight  times  their  original  capital  ;  that  by  levying  a  high 
rate  of  interest  on  this  they  had  bled  the  people  nigh  unto 
death  ;  that  then  the  government  had  stepped  in  and  said  to 
the  banks:  "When  you  began,  you  received  an  annual  interest 
of  six  per  cent,  on  your  capital ;  you  now  receive  nearly  that 
rate  on  a  circulation  eight  times  your  capital  based  really  on 
the  people's  credit ;  therefore  at  one-eighth  of  the  original  rate 
your  annual  profit  would  be  as  great  as  formerly  ;  henceforth 
your  rate  of  discount  must  not  exceed  three-fourths  of  one  per 
cent."  Had  all  this  happened  (and  with  the  exception  of  the 
last  condition  of  the  hypothesis  similar  cases  have  frequently 
happened),  what  would  have  been  the  result  ?  Proudhon  shall 
answer  for  us.  In  the  eighth  letter  of  his  immortal  discussion 
with  Bastiat  on  the  question  of  interest  he  exhausts  the  whole 
subject  of  the  relation  bf  interest  to  capital ;  and  "  Basis  "  can- 
not do  better  than  read  the  whole  of  it.  A  brief  extract,  how- 
ever, must  suffice  here.  He  is  speaking  of  the  Bank  of  France, 
which  at  that  time  (1849)  ^^^  actually  in  almost  th^  same 

196  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

situation  as  that  described  above.  Supposing,  as  we  have  just 
done  after  him,  a  reduction  of  the  rate  of  discount  to  three- 
fourths  of  one  per  cent.,  he  then  asks,  as  we  do,  what  the 
result  would  be.  These  are  his  words  in  answer  to  Bastiat, 
the  "  Basis  "  of  that  discussion  : 

The  fortune  and  destiny  of  the  country  are  to-day  in  the  hands  of  the 
Banli  of  France.  If  it  mould  relieve  industry  and  commerce  by  a  de- 
crease of  its  rate  of  discount  proportional  to  the  increase  of  its  reserve  ; 
in  other  words,  if  it  would  reduce  the  price  of  its  credit  to  three-fourths 
of  one  per  cent.,  which  it  must  do  in  order  to  quit  stealing, — this  reduc- 
tion would  instantly  produce,  throughout  the  Republic  and  all  Europe, 
incalculable  results.  They  could  not  be  enumerated  in  a  volume  ;  I  will 
confine  myself  to  the  indication  of  a  few. 

If,  then,  the  credit  of  the  Bank  of  France  should  be  loaned  at  three- 
fourths  of  one  per  cent.,  ordinary  bankers,  notaries,  capitalists,  and  even 
the  stockholders  of  the  bank  itself  would  be  immediately  compelled  by 
competition  to  reduce  their  interest,  discount,  and  dividends  to  at  least 
one  per  cent.,  including  incidental  expenses  and  brokerage.  What  harm, 
think  you,  would  this  reduction  do  to  borrowers  on  personal  credit,  or  to 
commerce  and  industry,  who  are  forced  to  pay,  by  reason  of  this  fact 
alone,  an  annual  tax  of  at  least  two  thousand  millions  ? 

If  financial  circulation  could  be  effected  at  a  rate  of  discount  represent- 
ing only  the  cost  of  administration,  drafting,  registration,  etc.,  the  inter- 
est charged  on  purchases  and  sales  on  credit  would  fall  in  its  turn  from 
six  per  cent,  to  zero, — that  is  to  say,  business  would  then  be  transacted 
on  a  cash  basis  ;  there  would  be  no  more  debts.  Again,  to  how  great  a 
degree,  think  you,  would  that  diminish  the  shameful  number  of  suspen- 
sions, failures,  and  bankruptcies? 

But,  as  in  society  net  product  is  undistinguishable  from  raw  product, 
so  in  the  light  of  the  sum  total  of  economic  facts  CAI'ITAL  is  undistin- 
guishable from  PRODUCT.  These  two  terms  do  not,  in  reality,  stand  for 
two  distinct  things  ;  they  designate  relations  only.  Product  is  capital ; 
capital  is  product  :  there  is  a  difference  between  them  only  in  private 
economy;  none  whatever  in  public  economy.  If,  then,  interest,  after 
having  fallen  in  the  case  of  money  to  three-fourths  of  one  per  cent., — 
that  is,  to  zero,  inasmuch  as  three-fourths  of  one  per  cent,  represents 
only  the  service  of  the  bank, — should  fall  to  zero  in  the  case  of  merchan- 
dise also,  by  analogy  of  principles  and  facts  it  would  soon  fall  to  zero  in 
the  case  of  real  estate  ;  rent  would  disappear  in  becoming  one  with  liqui-  ' 
dation.  Do  you  think,  sir,  that  that  would  prevent  people  from  living 
in  houses  and  cultivating  land  ? 

If,  thanks  to  this  radical  reform  in  the  machinery  of  circulation,  labor 
was  compelled  to  pay  to  capital  only  as  much  interest  as  would  be  a  just 
reward  for  the  service  rendered  by  the  capitalist,  specie  and  real  estate 
being  deprived  of  their  reproductive  properties  and  valued  only  as  pro- 
ducts,—d^s  things  that  can  be  consumed  and  replaced, — the  favor  with 
which  specie  and  capital  are  now  looked  upon  would  be  wholly  transferred 
to  products  ;  each  individual,  instead  of  restricting  his  consumption, 
would  strive  only  to  increase  it.  Whereas,  iX.  present,  thanks  to  the  re- 
striction laid  upon  consumable  products  by  interest,  the  means  of  con- 
sumption are  always  very  much  limited,  then,  on  the  contrary,  produc- 
tion would  be  insufficient ;  labor  would  then  be  secure  in  fapt  a?  wdl  as 
in  right, 


The  laboring  class  gaining  at  one  stroke  the  five  thousand  millions,  or 
thereabouts,  now  taken  in  the  form  of  interest  from  the  ten  thousand 
millions  which  it  produces,  plus  five  thousand  millions  which  this  same 
interest  deprives  it  of  by  destroying  the  demand  for  labor,  plus  five 
thousand  millions  which  the  parasites,  cut  off  from  a  living,  would  then 
be  compelled  to  produce,  the  national  production  would  be  doubled  and 
the  welfare  of  the  laborer  increased  fourfold.  And  you,  sir,  whom  the 
worship  of  interest  does  not  prevent  from  lifting  your  thoughts  to  an- 
other world, — what  say  you  to  this  improvement  of  affairs  here  below? 
Do  you  see  now  that  It  is  not  the  multiplication  of  capital  which  decreases 
interest,  but,  on  the  contrary,  that  it  is  the  decrease  of  interest  which 
multiplies  capital? 

Now,  this  reduction  of  the  rate  of  discount  to  the  bank's 
service,  and  the  results  therefrom  as  above  described,  are  pre- 
cisely vi^hat  would  happen  if  the  whole  business  of  banking 
should  be  thrown  open  to  free  competition.  It  behooves 
"  Basis  "  to  examine  this  argument  well  ;  for,  unless  he  can 
find  a  fatal  flaw  in  it,  he  must  stand  convicted,  in  saying  that 
"  when  the  accumulated  wealth  of  the  world  becomes  large 
enough,  no  one  will  pay  interest,"  of  putting  the  cart  before 
the  horse. 

"Basis  "  is  in  error  a  third  time  in  assuming  that  "Apex  " 
wishes  to  "  forbid  the  man  of  ability,  but  lacking  means,  using 
his  credit."  It  is  precisely  because  such  men  are  now  virtu- 
ally prohibited  from  using  their  credit  that  "  Apex,"  and  Ztd- 
erty  with  him,  complains.  This  singular  misconception  on  the 
part  of  "  Basis  "  indicates  that  he  does  not  yet  understand 
what  he  is  fighting. 

The  fourth  error  for  which  "  Basis  "  assumes  responsibility 
is  found  in  his  statement  that  "  in  the  last  analysis  the  pos- 
sessor of  capital  has  acquired  it  by  a  willingness  to  work 
harder  than  his  fellows  and  to  sacrifice  his  love  of  spending  all 
he  produces  that  he  may  have  the  aid  of  capital  to  increase 
liis  power  of  production."  A  man  who  thoroughly  means  to 
tell  the  truth  here  reiterates  one  of  the  most  devilish  of  the 
many  infernal  lies  for  which  the  economists  have  to  answer. 
It  is  indeed  true  that  the  possessor  of  capital  may,  in  rare 
cases,  have  acquired  it  by  the  method  stated,  though  even 
then  he  could  not  be  excused  for  making  the  capital  so  ac- 
quired a  leech  upon  his  fellow-men.  But  ninety-nine  times  in 
a  hundred  the  modern  possessor  of  any  large  amount  of  cap- 
ital has  acquired  it,  not  "  by  a  willingness  to  work  harder  than 
his  fellows,"  but  by  a  shrewdness  in  getting  possession  of  a 
monopoly  which  makes  it  needless  for  him  to  do  any  ri?a/work 
at  all ;  not  by  a  willingness  "  to  sacrifice  his  love  of  spending 
ail  he  produces,"  but  by  a  cleverness  in  procuring  frprn  the 

198  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

government  a  privilege  by  which  he  is  able  to  spend  in  wanton 
luxury  half  of  what  a  large  number  of  other  men  produce. 
The  chief  privilege  to  which  we  refer  is  that  of  selling  the 
people's  credit  for  a  price. 

"  Basis  "  is  guilty  of  several  other  errors  which  we  have  not 
space  to  discuss  at  length.  He  supposes  that  to  confine  the 
term  money  to  coin  and  to  call  all  other  money  currency  would 
simplify  matters,  when  in  reality  it  is  the  insistence  upon  this 
false  distinction  that  is  the  prevailing  cause  of  mystification. 
If  the  idea  of  the  royalty  of  gold  and  silver  could  be  once 
knocked  out  of  the  people's  heads,  and  they  could  once  un- 
derstand that  no  particular  kind  of  merchandise  is  created  by 
nature  for  monetary  purposes,  they  would  settle  this  question 
in  a  trice.  Again,  he  seems  to  think  that  Josiah  Warren  based 
his  notes  on  corn.  Nothing  of  the  kind.  Warren  simply  took 
corn  as  his  standard,  but  made  labor  and  all  its  products  his 
basis.  His  labor  notes  were  rarely  redeemed  in  corn.  If  he 
had  made  corn  his  exclusive  basis,  there  would  be  no  distinc- 
tion in  principle  between  him  and  the  specie  men.  Perhaps 
the  central  point  in  his  monetary  theory  was  his  denial  of  the 
idea  that  any  one  product  of  labor  can  properly  be  made  the 
only  basis  of  money.  To  quote  him  in  this  connection  at  all 
is  the  height  of  presumption  on  the  part  of  "  Basis."  A  charge 
that  his  system,  which  recognized  cost  as  the  only  ground  of 
price,  even  contemplated  a  promise  to  pay  anything  "for  value 
received,"  he  would  deem  the  climax  of  insult  to  his  memory. 
"Basis,"  in  donning  the  garments  of  Josiah  Warren  to  defend 
the  specie  fraud,  has  "  stolen  the  livery  of  heaven  to  serve  the 
devil  in."  "  Basis  "  is  wrong,  too,  in  thinking  that  land  is  not 
a  good  basis  for  currency.  True,  unimproved  vacant  land, 
not  having  properly  a  market  value,  cannot  properly  give  value 
to  anything  that  represents  it ;  but  permanent  improvements 
on  land,  which  should  have  a  market  value  and  carry  witlf 
them  a  title  to  possession,  are  an  excellent  basis  for  currency. 
It  is  not  the  raw  material  of  any  product  that  fits  it  for  a  basis, 
but  the  labor  that  has  been  expended  in  shaping  the  material. 
As  for  the  immovability  of  land  unfitting  it  for  a  basis,  it  has 
just  the  opposite  effect.  Here  "Basis"  is  misled  by  the  idea 
that  currency  can  be  redeemed  only  in  that  on  which  it  is  based. 

But  this  fertile  subject  has  taken  us  farther  than  we  intended 
to  follow  it.  So  here,  for  the  present,  we  will  quit  its  com- 
pany, meanwhile  handing  over  "  Basis"  to  the  tender  mercies 
of  "Apex,"  and  heartily  indorsing  almost  all  that  "Basis" 
says  at  the  close  of  his  article  concerning  the  true  duty  of 
government,  as  long  as  it  ?hall  exist,  regarding  the  currency. 



[Liiirty^  October  13,  188S.] 

John  Ruskin,  in  the  first  of  his  "Fors  Clavigera"  series  of 
letters  to  British  workmen,  opened  what  he  had  to  say  about 
interest  by  picturing  what  he  called  "the  position  of  William." 
Bastiat,  the  French  economist,  had  tried  to  show  the  nature 
of  capital  and  interest  by  a  little  story,  in  which  a  carpenter 
named  James  made  a  plane  in  order  to  increase  his  productive 
power!  but,  having  made  it,  was  induced  by  a  fellow-carpenter 
named  William  to  lend  it  to  him  for  a  year  in  consideration  of 
receiving  a  new  plane  at  the  end  of  that  time  besides  a  plank 
for  the  use  of  it.  Having  fulfilled  these  conditions  at  the  end 
of  the  first  year,  William  borrowed  the  plane  again  on  the 
same  terms  at  the  beginning  of  the  second,  and  year  after  year 
the  transaction  was  repeated  to  the  third  and  fourth  genera- 
tions of  the  posterity  of  William  and  James.  Ruskin  disposed 
of  this  plausible  story  in  a  sentence  by  pointing  out  that  the 
transactions  of  William  and  James  amounted  simply  to  this,— 
that  William  made  a  plane  every  31st  December,  lent  it  to 
James  till  ist  January,  and  paid  James  a  plank  for  the  priv- 
ilege of  thus  lending  him  the  plane  overnight. 

Ruskin  called  this  "  the  position  of  William,"  and,  though 
he  threw  down  the  gauntlet  right  and  left,  he  never  could  find 
an  economist  rash  enough  to  undertake  to  dispute  the  justice 
of  his  abridgment  of  Bastiat's  tale.  At  last,  however,  one 
has  appeared.  F.  J.  Stimson  has  discovered  the  fallacy  in 
"  the  position  of  William,"  and  confidently  tells  the  readers  of 
the  Quarterly  Journal  of  Economics  that  it  lies  in  Ruskin's 
tacit  assumption  that  the  plank  which  William  paid  James  was 
the  only  plank  which  the  plane  had  enabled  him  to  make 
during  the  year.  Mr.  Stimson  is  so  proud  of  this  discovery 
that  he  puts  it  in  italics,  but  I  am  unable  to  see  that  it  shows 
anything  except  Mr.  Stimson's  failure  to  get  down  to  the  kernel 
of  the  question  at  issue. 

If  Ruskin  made  the  assumption  attributed  to  him, — which  is 
improbable, — he  did  so  because  he  knew  perfectly  well  that  the 
number  of  planks  which  the  plane  enabled  William  to  make 
ought  in  equity  to  have  had  no  influence  upon  the  plane's  sell- 
ing or  lending  price,  always  provided  the  number  was  great 
enough  to  make  it  worth  while  to  have  manufactured  the  plane 
in  the  first  place.    If  Mr,  Stimson  were  half  the  economigt 

20O  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

that  Ruskin  is,  he  would  know  that,  in  the  absence  of  monop- 
oly, the  price  of  an  article  worth  producing  at  all  is  governed, 
not  by  its  utility,  but  by  the  cost  of  its  production,  and  that 
James  consequently,  though  his  plane  should  enable  William 
to  make  a  million  planks,  could  not  sell  or  lend  it  for  more 
than  it  cost  him  to  make  it,  except  he  enjoyed  a  monopoly  of 
the  plane-making  industry. 

The  fallacy  in  "the  position  of  William  "  remains  undiscov- 
ered. Perhaps  a  few  more  such  failures  to  discover  it  as  Mr. 
Stimson's  may  convince  the  people  that  there  is  no  fallacy 
there  to  be  discovered.  On  the  whole,  the  original  policy  of 
James's  friends  was  the  safer  one, — to  ignore  "  the  position  of 
William  "  on  the  ground  that  his  champion,  Mr.  Ruskin,-  is  not 
an  economist,  but  an  artist. 


[Liierty,  October  8,  1887.] 

It  will  be  remembered  that,  when  a  correspondent  of  the 
Standard  signing  "  Morris "  asked  Henry  George  one  or 
two  awkward  questions  regarding  interest,  and  George  tried 
to  answer  him  by  a  silly  and  forced  distinction  between  inter- 
est considered  as  the  increase  of  capital  and  interest  consid- 
ered as  payment  for  the  use  of  a  legal  tender,  John  F.  Kelly 
sent  to  the  Standard  a  crushing  reply  to  George,  which  the 
latter  refused  to  print,  and  which  subsequently  appeared  in 
No.  I02  of  Liberty.  It  may  also  be  remembered  that  George's 
rejection  of  Kelly's  article  was  grounded  on  the  fact  that  since 
his  own  reply  to  "  Morris  "  he  had  received  several  articles  on 
the  interest  question,  and  that  he  could  not  afford  space  for 
the  consideration  of  this  subordinate  matter  while  the  all-im- 
portant land  question  was  yet  to  be  settled. 

I  take  it  that  the  land  battle  has  since  been  won,  for  in  the 
Standard  of  September  3  nearly  three  columns — almost  the 
entire  department  of  "Queries  and  Answers  "  in  that  issue — are 
given  to  a  defence  of  interest,  in  answer  to  the  questions  of 
two  or  three  correspondents.  The  article  is  a  long  elabora- 
tion of  the  reply  to  "  Morris,"  the  root  absurdity  of  which  is 
rendered  more  intangible  by  a  wall  of  words,  and  no  one 
would  know  from  reading  it  that  the  writer  had  ever  heard  of 
the  considerations  which  Mr.  Kelly  arrayed  against  his  posi- 
tion.   It  is  true  that  at  one  or  two  points  he  verges  upon  them, 


but  his  words  are  a  virtual  admission  of  their  validity  and 
hence  a  reduction  of  interest  to  an  unsubstantial  form.  He 
seems,  therefore,  to  have  written  them  without  thought  of  Mr. 
Kelly ;  for,  had  he  realized  their  effect,  he  could  not — assum- 
ing his  honesty — have  prepared  the  article,  which  has  no 
raison  iTHre  except  to  prove  that  interest  is  a  vital  reality 
apart  from  money  monopoly.  On  the  other  hand,  assuming 
his  dishonesty,  the  suspicion  inevitably  arises  that  he  pur- 
posely smothered  Mr.  Kelly's  article  in  order  to  subsequently 
juggle  over  the  matter  with  less  expert  opponents.  Unhap- 
pily 'this  suspicion  is  not  altogether  unwarrantable  in  view 
of  the  tactics  adopted  by  George  in  his  treatment  of  the  rent 

The  matter  seems,  too,  to  have  taken  on  importance,  as  it  is 
now  acknowledged  that  "  the  theory  of  interest  as  propounded 
by  Mr.  George  has  been  more  severely  and  plausibly  criticised 
than  any  other  phase  of  the  economic  problem  as  he  presents 
it."  When  we  con>sider  that  George  regards  it  as  an  economic 
law  that  interest  varies  inversely  with  so  important  a  thing  as 
rent,  we  see  that  he  cannot  consistently  treat  as  unimpor- 
tant any  "  plausible  "  argument  urged  in  support  of  the  theory 
that  interest  varies  principally,  not  with  rent,  but  with  the 
economic  conditions  arising  from  a  monopoly  of  the  currency. 

But,  however  the  article  may  be  accounted  for,  it  is  certainly 
before  us,  and  Mr.  George  (through  his  sub-editor,  Louis  F. 
Post,  for  whose  words  in  the  "  Queries  and  Answers  "  depart- 
ment he  may  fairly  be  held  responsible),  is  discussing  the  in- 
terest question.     We  will  see  what  he  has  to  say. 

It  appears  that  all  the  trouble  of  the  enemies  of  interest 
grows  out  of  their  view  of  it  as  exclusively  incidental  to  bor- 
rowing and  lending,  whereas  interest  on  borrowed  capital  is 
itself  "  incidental  to  real  interest,"  which  is'"  the  increase  that 
capital  yields  irrespective  of  borrowing  and  lending."  This 
increase,  Mr.  George  claims,  is  the  work  of  time,  and  from 
this  premise  he  reasons  as  follows: 

The  laborer  who  has  capital  ready  when  it  is  wanted,  and  thus,  by 
saving  time  in  making  it,  increases  production,  will  get  and  ought  to  get 
some  consideration, — higher  wages,  if  you  choose,  or  interest,  as  we  call  it, 
— just  as  the  skilful  printer  who  sets  fifteen  hundred  ems  an  hour  will 
get  more  for  an  hour's  work  than  the  less  skilful  printer  who  sets  only  a 
thousand.  In  the  one  case  greater  power  due  to  skill,  and  in  the  other 
greater  power  due  to  capital,  produce  greater  results  in  a  given  time;  and 
in  neither  case  is  the  increased  compensation  a  deduction  from  the  earn- 
ings of  other  men. 

To  make  this  analogy  a  fair  one  it  must  be  assumed  that 
skill  is  a  product  of  labor,  that  it  can  be  bought  and  sold,  and 

202  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

that  its  price  is  subject  to  the  influence  of  competition  ;  other- 
wise, it  furnishes  no  parallel  to  capital.  With  these  assump- 
tions the  opponent  of  interest  eagerly  seizes  upon  the  analogy 
as  entirely  favorable  to  his  own  position  and  destructive  of 
Mr.  George's.  If  the  skilful  printer  produced  his  skill  and 
can  sell  it,  and  if  other  men  can  produce  similar  skill  and  sell 
it,  the  price  that  will  be  paid  for  it  will  be  limited,  under  free 
competition,  by  the  cost  of  production,  and  will  bear  no  rela- 
tion to  the  extra  five  hundred  ems  an  hour.  The  case  is  pre- 
cisely the  same  with  capital.  Where  there  is  free  competition 
in  the  manufacture  and  sale  of  spades,  the  price  of  a  spade 
will  be  governed  by  the  cost  of  its  production,  and  not  by  the 
value  of  the  extra  potatoes  which  the  spade  will  enable  its 
purchaser  to  dig.  Suppose,  however,  that  the  skilful  printer 
enjoyed  a  monopoly  of  skill.  In  that  case,  its  price  would  no 
longer  be  governed  by  the  cost  of  production,  but  by  its  util- 
ity to  the  purchaser,  and  the  monopolist  would  exact  nearly 
the  whole  of  the  extra  five  hundred  ems,  receiving  which  hourly 
he  would  be  able  to  live  for  the  rest  of  his  life  without  ever 
picking  up  a  type.  Such  a  monopoly  as  this  is  now  enjoyed 
by  the  holders  of  capital  in  consequence  of  the  currency 
monopoly,  and  this  is  the  reason,  and  the  only  reason,  why 
they  are  able  to  tax  borrowers  nearly  up  to  the  limit  of  the 
advantage  which  the  latter  derive  from  having  the  capital.  In 
other  words,  increase  which  is  purely  the  work  of  time  bears  a 
price  only  because  of  monopoly.  Abolish  the  monopoly,  then, 
and  what  becomes  of  Mr.  George's  "  real  interest  "  except  as 
a  benefit  enjoyed  by  all  consumers  in  proportion  to  their  con- 
sumption ?  As  far  as  the  owner  of  the  capital  is  concerned,  it 
vanishes  at  once,  and  Mr.  George's  wonderful  distinction  with  it. 

He  tells  us,  nevertheless,  that  the  capitalist's  share  of  the 
results  of  the  increased  power  which  capital  gives  the  laborer 
is  "  not  a  deduction  from  the  earnings  of  other  men."  Indeed  ! 
What  are  the  normal  earnings  of  other  men  ?  Evidently  what 
they  can  produce  with  all  the  tools  and  advantages  which 
they  can  procure  in  a  free  market  without  force  or  fraud.  If, 
then,  the  capitalist,  by  abolishing  the  free  market,  compels 
other  men  to  procure  their  tools  and  advantages  of  him  on  less 
favorable  terms  than  they  could  get  befpre,  while  it  may  be 
better  for  them  to  come  to  his  terms  than  to  go  without  the 
capital,  does  he  not  deduct  from  their  earnings  ? 

But  let  us  hear  Mr.  George  further  in  regard  to  the  great 
value  of  time  to  the  idler. 

Suppose  a  natural  spring  free  to  all,  and  that  Hodge  carries  a  pail  of 
water  from  it  to  a  place  where  he  can  build  a  fire  and  boil  the  water. 

MONEY   ANt)   iNTEkfiST.  26^ 

Having  hung  a  kettle  and  poured  the  wate»  into  it,  and  arranged  the  fuel 
and  started  the  fire,  he  has  by  his  labor  set  natural  forces  at  work  in  a 
certain  direction  ;  and  they  are  at  work  for  him  alone,  because  without 
his  previous  labor  they  would  not  be  at  work  in  that  direction  at  all.  Now 
he  may  go  to  sleep,  or  run  off  and  play,  or  amuse  himself  in  any  way  that 
he  pleases  ;  and  when  an  hour — a  period  of  time — shall  have  elapsed, 
he  will  have,  instead  of  a  pail  of  cold  water,  a  pot  of  boiling  water.  Is 
there  no  difference  in  value  between  that  boiling  water  and  the  cold 
water  of  an  hour  before  ?  Would  he  exchange  the  pot  of  boiling  water 
for  a  pail  of  cold  water,  even  though  the  cold  water  were  in  the  pot  and 
the  fire  started?  Of  course  not,  and  no  one  would  expect  him  to.  And 
yet  between  the  time  when  the  fire  is  started  and  the  time  when  the  wa- 
ter boils  he  does  no  work.  To  what,  then,  is  that  difference  in  value  due  ? 
Is  it  not  clearly  due  to  the  element  of  time?  Why  does  Hodge  demand 
more  than  a  pail  of  cold  water  for  the  pot  of  boiling  water  if  it  is  not  that 
the  ultimate  object  of  his  original  labor — the  making  of  tea,for  example — 
is  nearer  complete  than  it  was  an  hour  before,  and  that  an  even  exchange 
of  boiling  water  for  cold  water  would  delay  him  an  hour,  to  which  he  will 
not  submit  unless  he  is  paid  for  it?  And  why  is  Podge  willing  to  give 
more  than  a  pail  of  cold  water  for  the  pot  of  boiling  water,  if  it  is  not 
that  it  gives  him  the  benefit  of  an  hour's  time  in  production,  and  thus  in- 
creases his  productive  power  very  much  as  greater  skill  would  ?  And  if 
Podge  gives  to  Hodge  more  than  a  pail  of  cold  water  for  the  pot  of  boil- 
ing water,  does  Podge  lose  anything  that  he  had,  or  Hodge  gain  anything 
that  he  had  not  ?  No.  The  effect  of  the  transaction  is  a  transfer  for  a 
consideration  of  the  advantage  in  point  of  time  that  Hodge  had,  to  Podge 
who  had  it  not,  as  if  a  skilful  compositor  should,  if  he  could,  sell  his  skill 
to  a  less  skilful  member  of  the  craft. 

We  will  look  a  little  into  this  economic  Hodge-Podge. 

The  illustration  is  vitiated  from  beginning  to  end  by  the 
neglect  of  the  most  important  question  involved  in  it, — name- 
ly, whether  Hodge's  idleness  during  the  hour  required  for  the 
boiling  of  the  water  is  a  matter  of  choice  or  of  necessit)'.  It 
was  necessary  to  leave  this  out  in  order  to  give  time  the  credit 
of  boiling  the  water.  Let  us  not  leave  it  out,  and  see  what 
will  come  of  it.  If  Hodge's  idleness  is  a  matter  of  necessity, 
it  is  equivalent,  from  the  economic  standpoint,  to  labor,  and 
counts  as  labor  in  the  price  of  the  boiling  water.  A  store- 
keeper may  spend  only  five  hours  in  waiting  on  his  customers, 
but,  as  he  has  to  spend  another  five  hours  in  waiting  for  them, 
he  gets  paid  by  them  for  ten  hours'  labor.  His  five  hours' 
idleness  counts  as  labor,  because,  to  accommodate  his  cus- 
tomers, he  has  to  give  up  what  he  could  produce  in  those 
five  hours  if  he  could  labor  in  them.  Likewise,  if  Hodge, 
when  boiling  water  for  Podge,  is  obliged  to  spend  an  hour  in 
idleness,  he  will  charge  Podge  for  the  hour  in  the  price  which 
he  sets  on  the  boiling  water.  But  it  is  Hodge  himself,  this 
disposition  of  himself,  and  not  the  abstraction,  time,  that 
gives  the  water  its  exchangeable  value.    The  abstraction,  time, 

S04  insteaB  of  a  IBOOK. 

is  as  truly  at  work  when  Hodge  is  bringing  the  water  froiti  the 
spring  and  starting  the  fire  as  when  he  is  asleep  waiting  for 
the  water  to  boil  ;  yet  Mr.  George  would  not  dream  of  at- 
tributing the  value  of  the  water  af^er  it  had  been  brought 
from  the  spring  to  the  element  of  time.  He  would  say  that  it 
was  due  entirely  to  the  labor  of  Hodge.  Properly  speaking, 
time  does  not  work  at  all,  but,  if  the  phrase  is  to  be  insisted 
on.  in  economic  discussion,  it  can  be  admitted  only  with  some 
such  qualification  as  the  following  :  The  services  of  time  are 
venal  only  when  rendered  through  human  forces  ;  when  ren- 
dered exclusively  through  the  forces  of  nature,  they  are  gratui- 

That  time  does  not  give  the  boiling  water  any  exchangeable 
value  becomes  still  more  evident  when  we  start  from  the 
hypothesis  that  Hodge's  idleness,  instead  of  being  a  matter 
of  necessity,  is  a  matter  of  choice.  In  that  case,  if  Hodge 
chooses  to  be  idle,  and  still  tries,  in  selling  the  boiling  water 
to  Podge,  to  charge,  him  for  this  unnecessary  idleness,  the 
enterprising  Dodge  will  step  up  and  offer  boiling  water  to 
Podge  at  a  price  lower  than  Hodge's,  knowing  that  he  can  ■ 
afford  to  do  so  by  performing  some  productive  labor  while 
waiting  for  the  water  to  boil,  instead  of  loafing  like  Hodge. 
The  effect  of  this  will  be  that  Hodge  himself  will  go  to  work 
productively,  and  then  will  offer  Podge  a  better  bargain  than 
Dodge  has  proposed,  and  so  competition  between  Hodge  and 
Dodge  will  go  on  until  the  price  of  the  boiling  water  to  Podge 
shall  fall  to  the  value  of  the  labor  expended  by  either  Hodge 
or  Dodge  in  bringing  the  water  from  the  spring  and  starting 
the  fire.  Here,  then,  the  exchangeable  value  of  the  boiling 
water  which  was  said  to  be  due  to  time  has  disappeared,  and 
yet  it  takes  just  as  much  time  to  boil  the  wa.ter  as  it  did  in 
the  first  place. 

Mr.  George  gets  into  difficulty  in  discussing  this  question  of 
the  increase  of  capital  simply  because  he  continually  loses 
sight  of  the  fact  that  competition  lowers  prices  to  the  cost  of 
production  and  thereby  distributes  this  so-called  product  of 
capital  among  the  whole  people.  He  does  not  see  that  capital 
in  the  hands  of  labor  is  but  the  utilization  of  a  natural  force 
or  opportunity,  just  as  land  is  in  the  hands  of  labor,  and  that 
it  is  as  proper  in  the  one  case  as  in  the  other  that  the  benefits 
of  such  utilization  of  natural  forces  should  be  enjoyed  by  the 
whole  body  of  consumers. 

Mr.  George  truly  says  that  rent  is  the  price  of  monopoly. 
Suppose,  now,  that  some  one  should  answer  him  thus  :  You 
misconceive ;  you  clearly  have  leasing  exclusively  in  mind, 

UoneY  and  interest.  205 

and  suppose  an  unearned  bonus  for  a  lease,  whereas  rent  of 
leased  land  is  merely  incidental  to  real  rent,  which  is  the 
superiority  in  location  or  fertility  of  one  piece  of  land  over 
another,  irrespective  of  leasing.  Mr.  George  would  laugh  at 
such  an  argument  if  offered  in  justification  of  the  receipt  and. 
enjoyment  of  unearned  increment  or  economic  rent  by  the 
landlord.  But  he  himself  makes  an  equally  ridiculous  and 
precisely  parallel  argument  in  defence  of  the  usurer  when  he 
says,  in  answer  to  those  who  assert  that  interest  is  the  price  of 
monopoly  :  "  You  misconceive  ;  you  clearly  have  borrowing 
and  lending  exclusively  in  mind,  and  suppose  an  unearned 
bonus  for  a  loan,  whereas  interest  on  borrowed  capital  is 
merely  incidental  to  real  interest,  which  is  the  increase  that 
capital  yields,  irrespective  of  borrowing  and  lending." 

The  truth  in  both  cases  is  just  this, — that  nature  furnishes 
man  immense  forces  with  which  to  work  in  the  shape  of  land 
and  capital,  that  in  a  state  of  freedom  these  forces  benefit 
each  individual  to  the  extent  that  he  avails  himself  of  them, 
and  that  any  man  or  class  getting  a  monopoly  of  either  or 
both  will  put  all  other  men  in  subjection  and  live  in  luxury 
on  the  products  of  their  labor.  But  to  justify  a  monopoly  of 
either  of  these  forces  by  the  existence  of  the  force  itself,  or  to 
argue  that  without  a  monopoly  of  it  any  individual  could  get 
an  income  by  lending  it  instead  of  by  working  with  it,  is 
equally  absurd  whether  the  argument  be  resorted  to  in  the 
case  of  land  or  in  the  case  of  capital,  in  the  case  of  rent  or  in 
the  case  of  interest.  If  any  one  chooses  to  call  the  advantages 
of  these  forces  to  mankind  rent  in  one  case  and  interest  in  the 
other,  I  do  not  know  that  there  is  any  serious  objection  to  his 
doing  so,  provided  he  will  remember  that  in  practical  economic 
discussion  rent  stands  for  the  absorption  of  the  advantages  of 
land  by  the  landlord,  and  interest  for  the  absorption  of  the 
advantages  of  capital  by  the  usurer. 

The  remainder  of  Mr.  George's  article  rests  entirely  upon 
the  time  argument.  Several  new  Hodge-Podge  combinations 
are  supposed  by  way  of  illustration,  but  in  none  of  them  is 
there  any  attempt  to  justify  interest  except  as  a  reward  of 
time.  The  inherent  absurdity  of  this  justification  having  been 
demonstrated  above,  all  that  is  based  upon  it  falls  with  it. 
The  superstructure  is  a  logical  ruin  ;  it  remains  only  to  clear 
away  the  dSbris. 

Hodge's  boiling  water  is  made  a  type  of  all  those  products 
of  labor  which  afterwards  increase  in  utility  purely  by  natural 
forces,  such  as  cattle,  corn,  etc.;  and  it  may  be  admitted  that, 
if  time  would  add  exchangeable  value  to  the  water  while  boil- 

206  INSTEAD   OP  A   BOOK. 

ing,  it  would  do  the  same  to  corn  while  growing,  and  cattle 
while  multiplying.  But  that  it  would  do  so  under  freedom 
has  already  been  disproved.  Starting  from  this,  however,  an 
attempt  is  made  to  find  in  it  an  excuse  for  interest  on  products 
which  do  not  improve  except  as  labor  is  applied  to  them,  and 
even  on  money  itself.  Hodge's  grain,  after  it  has  been  grow- 
ing for  a  month,  is  worth  more  than  when  it  was  first  sown  ; 
therefore  Podge,  the  shovel-maker,  who  supplies  a  market 
which  it  takes  a  month  to  reach,  is  entitled  to  more  pay  for 
his  shovels  at  the  end  of  that  month  than  he  would  have  been 
had  he  sold  them  on  the  spot  immediately  after  production  ; 
and  therefore  the  banker  who  discounts  at  the  time  of  produc- 
tion the  note  of  Podge's  distant  customer  maturing  a  month 
later,  thereby  advancing  ready  money  to  Podge,  will  be  en- 
titled, at  the  end  of  the  month,  from  Podge's  customer,  to 
the  extra  value  which  the  month's  time  is  supposed  to  have 
added  to  the  shovels. 

Here  Mr.  George  not  only  builds  on  a  rotten  foundation, 
but  he  mistakes  foundation  for  superstructure.  Instead  of 
reasoning  from  Hodge  to  the  banker  he  should  have  reasoned 
from  the  banker  to  Hodge.  His  first  inquiry  should  have  been 
how  much,  in  the  absence  of  a  monopoly  in  the  banking 
business,  the  banker  could  get  for  discounting  for  Podge 
the  note  of  his  customer  ;  from  which  he  could  then  have 
ascertained  how  much  extra  payment  Podge  could  get  for  his 
month's  delay  in  the  shovel  transaction,  or  Hodge  for  the 
services  of  time  in  ripening  his  grain.  He  would  then  have 
discovered  that  the  banker,  who  invests  little  or  no  capital  of 
his  own,  and,  therefore,  lends  none  to  his  customers,  since  the 
security  which  they  furnish  him  constitutes  the  capital  upon 
which  he  operates,  is  forced,  in  the  absence  of  money  mo- 
nopoly, to  reduce  the  price  of  his  services  to  labor  cost, 
which  the  statistics  of  the  banking  business  show  to  be  much 
less  than  one  per  cent.  As  this  fraction  of  one  per  cent, 
represents  simply  the  banker's  wages  and  incidental  expenses, 
and  is  not  payment  for  the  use  of  capital,  the  element  of 
interest  disappears  from  his  transactions.  But,  if  Podge  can 
borrow  money  from  the  banker  without  interest,  so  can  Podge's 
customer  ;  therefore,  should  Podge  attempt  to  exact  from  his 
customer  remuneration  for  the  month's  delay,  the  latter  would 
at  once  borrow  the  money  and  pay  Podge  spot  cash.  Further- 
more Podge,  knowing  this,  and  being  able  to  get  ready  money 
easily  himself,  and  desiring,  as  a  good  man  of  business,  to  suit 
his  customer's  convenience,  would  make  no  such  attempt.  So 
Podge's  interest  is  gone  as  well  as  the  banker's.     Hodge,  then, 

MOMfeV    AND    INTERES*.  iof 

Is  the  only  usurer  left.  But  is  any  one  so  innocent  as  to 
suppose  that  Dodge,  or  Lodge,  or  Modge  will  long  continue  to 
pay  Hodge  more  for  his  grown  grain  than  his  sown  grain,  after 
any  or  all  of  them  can  get  land  free  of  rent  and  money  free 
of  interest,  and  thereby  force  time  to  work  for  them  as  well 
as  for  Hodge.  Nobody  who  can  get  the  services  of  time 
for  nothing  will  be  such  a  fool  as  to  pay  Hodge  for  them. 
Hodge,  too,  must  say  farewell  to  his  interest  as  soon  as  the 
two  great  monopolies  of  land  and  money  are  abolished.  TAe 
rate  of  interest  on  money  fixes  the  rate  of  interest  on  all  other 
capital  the  production  of  which  is  subject  to  competition,  and  when 
the  former  disappears  the  latter  disappears  with  it. 

Presumably  to  make  his  readers  think  that  he  has  given  due 
consideration  to  the  important  principle  just  elucidated,  Mr. 
George  adds,  just  after  his  hypothesis  of  the  banker's  transac- 
tion with  Podge  : 

Of  course  there  is  discount  and  discount.  I  am  speaking  of  a  legitimate 
economic  banlcing  transaction.  But  frequently  bank  discounts  are  nothing 
more  than  taxation,  due  to  the  choking  up  of  free  exchange,  in  conse- 
quence of  which  an  institution  that  controls  the  common  medium  of  ex- 
change can  impose  arbitrary  conditions  upon  producers  who  must  imme- 
diately use  that  common  medium. 

The  evident  purpose  of  the  word  "  frequently  "  here  is  to 
carry  the  idea  that,  when  a  bank  discount  is  a  tax  imposed  by 
monopoly  of  the  medium  of  exchange,  it  is  simply  a  some- 
what common  exception  to  the  general  rule  of  "  legitimate 
economic  banking  transactions."  For  it  is  necessary  to  have 
such  a  general  rule  in  order  to  sustain  the  theory  of  interest 
on  capital  as  a  reward  of  time.  The  exact  contrary,  however, 
is  the  truth.  Where  money  monopoly  exists,  it  is  the  rule  that 
bank  discounts  are  taxes  imposed  by  it,  and  when,  in  conse- 
quence of  peculiar  and  abnormal  circumstances,  discount  is 
not  in  the  nature  of  a  tax,  it  is  a  rare  exception.  The  aboli- 
tion of  money  monopoly  would  wipe  out  discount  as  a  tax 
and,  by  adding  to  the  steadiness  of  the  market,  make  the 
cases  where  it  is  not  a  tax  even  fewer  than  now.  Instead  of 
legitimate,  therefore,  the  banker's  transaction  with  Podge, 
being  exceptional  in  a  free  money  market  and  a  tax  of  the  or- 
dinary discount  type  in  a  restricted  money,  market,  is  illegiti- 
mate if  cited  in  defence  of  interest  as  a  normal  economic 

In  the  conclusion  of  his  article  Mr.  George  strives  to  show 
that  interest  would  not  enable  its  beneficiaries  to  live  by  the 
labor  of  others.  But  he  only  succeeds  in  showing,  though  in 
a  very  obscure,  indefinite,  and  intangible  fashion, — seemingly 

2o8  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

afraid  to  squarely  enunciate  it  as  a  proposition, — that  where 
there  is  no  monopoly  there  will  be  little  or  no  interest. 
Which  is  precisely  our  contention.  But  why,  then,  his  long 
article  ?  If  interest  will  disappear  with  monopoly,  what  will 
become  of  Hodge's  reward  for  his  time?  If,  on  the  other 
hand,  Hodge  is  to  be  rewarded  for  his  mere  time,  what  will 
reward  him  save  Podge's  labor  ?  There  is  no  escape  from  this 
dilemma.  The  proposition  that  the  man  who  for  time  spent 
in  idleness  receives  the  product  of  time  employed  in  labor  is 
a  parasite  up  on  the  body  industrial  is  one  arhich  an  expert 
necromancer  like  Mr.  George  may  juggle  with  before  an  audi- 
ence of  gaping  Hodges  and  Podges,  but  can  never  successfully 
dispute  with  men  who  understand  the  rudiments  of  political 


{Liberty^  October  j8,  1890.] 

AuBERON  Herbert,  in  his  paper,  Free  Life,  asks  me  how  I 
"  justify  a  campaign  against  the  right  of  men  to  lend  and  to 
borrow."  I  answer  that  I  do  not  justify  such  a  campaign, 
have  never  attempted  to  justify  such  a  campaign,  do  not 
advocate  such  a  campaign,  in  fact  am  ardently  opposed  to 
such  a  campaign.  In  turn,  I  ask  Mr.  Herbert  how  he  justifies 
his  apparent  attribution  to  me  of  a  wish  to  see  such  a  cam- 
paign instituted. 

It  is  true  that  I  expect  lending  and  borrowing  to  disappear, 
but  not  by  any  denial  of  the  right  to  lend  and  borrow.  On  the 
contrary,  I  expect  them  to  disappear  by  virtue  of  the  affirma- 
tion and  exercise  of  a  right  that  is  now  denied, — namely,  the 
right  to  use  one's  own  credit,  or  to  exchange  it  freely  for  an- 
other's, in  such  a  way  that  one  or  the  other  of  these  credits 
may  perform  the  function  of  a  circulating  medium,  without 
the  payment  of  any  tax  for  the  privilege.  It  has  been  repeat- 
edly demonstrated  in  these  columns  that  the  exercise  of  such 
a  right  would  accomplish  the  gradual  extinction  of  interest 
without  the  aid  of  force,  and  the  nature  of  this  economic 
process  has  been  described  over  and  over  again.  This  demon- 
stration Mr.  Herbert  steadily  ignores,  and  the  position  itself 
he  never  meets  save  by  a  sweeping  denial,  or  by  characterizing 
it  as  unphilosophical,  or  by  substituting  for  it  a  man  of  straw 
of  his  own  creation  and  then  knocking  it  down. 

M6NEY    AND    INTEREST.  i6^ 

The  Anarchists  assert  that  interest,  however  it  may  have 
originated,  exists  to-day  only  by  virtue,  of  the  legal  monopoly 
of  the  use  of  credit,  for  currency  purposes,  and  they  trace  the 
process,  step  by  step,  by  which  an  abolition  of  that  monopoly 
would  gradually  reduce  interest  to  zero.  Mr.  Herbert  never 
stops  to  analyze  this  process  that  he  may  find  the  weak  spot 
in  it  and  point  it  out ;  he  simply  declares  that  interest,  instead 
of  resting  on  monopoly,  is  the  natural,  inevitable  outcome  of 
human  convenience  and  the  open  market,  and  then  wants  to 
know  how  the  Anarchists  justify  their  attempt  to  abolish  in- 
terest by  force. 

It  is  as  if  Mr.  Herbert  were  to  maintain  (as  I  suppose  he 
does  maintain)  that  freedom  in  the  domestic  relation  would 
gradually  lessen  and  perhaps  abolish  licentiousness,  and  I 
were  to  answer  him  thus  :  "  Oh,  no,  Mr.  Herbert,  you  are  un- 
philosophical  ;  prostitution  does  not  rest  on  the  compulsory 
marriage  system,  but  is  the  natural,  inevitable  outcome  of 
human  convenience  and  desire  ;  how  do  you  justify,  I  should 
like  to  know,  a  campaign  against  the  right  of  men  and  women 
to  traffic  in  the  gratifications  of  the  flesh  ? "  In  such  a  case 
Mr.  Herbert,  I  imagine,  would  say  that  I  had  studied  his 
teaching  very  carelessly.  And  that  is  what  I  am  forced  to  say 
of  him,  much  against  my  will. 

If  it  be  true  that  interest  will  exist  in  the  absence  of  mo- 
nopoly, then  there  is  some  flaw  in  the  reasoning  by  which  the 
Anarchists  argue  from  the  abolition  of  morfopoly  to  the  disap- 
pearance of  interest,  and  it  is  incumbent  upon  Mr.  Herbert 
to  point  this  flaw  out,  or  else  admit  his  own  error.  It  is  almost 
incredible  that  an  argument  so  often  reiterated  can  have  es- 
caped the  attention  of  so  old  a  reader  of  Liberty  as  Mr.  Her- 
bert, but,  lest  he  should  plead  this  excuse,  I  will  state  that  it 
is  most  elaborately  and  conclusively  set  forth  in  the  pamphlet, 
"  Mutual  Banking,"  by  Col.  Wm.  B.  Greene.  If,  after  master- 
ing the  position,  he  thinks  he  can  overthrow  it,  I  shall  be  glad 
to  meet  him  on  that  issue. 


{^Liberiy^  November  29,  1890.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

I  am  sorry  if  I  have  misinterpreted  Liberty.  I  have  not  what  I  wrote 
before  me,  but  I  do  not  think  I  could  have  had  the  slightest  intention  of  im- 
puting to  Liierty  a  FORCE  campaign  against  interest ;  but  I  believed  (am  I 

4l6  tNSTfiAB  Of  a  BOOK. 

wrong  ?)  that  I  had  seen  both  interest  and  rent  denounced  in  Liberty  as 
objectionable  and  opposed  to  the  interests  of  society.  It  was  to  this  1  was 
referring  as  a  moral  campaign.  My  own  position  is  that  interest  is  both 
mora!  and  useful,  and  often  more  than  anything  e^se  a  chance  of  a  better 
future  to  workmen.  If  workmen  would  give  up  punching  the  head  of 
capital,  and,  instead  of  that  little  amusement,  resolutely  combine  for  the 
purpose  of  investing  in  industrial  concerns,  so  as  gradually  to  become  the 
part-owner  of  the  industrial  machinery  of  the  country,  whilst  they  no 
longer  remained  wholly  dependent  upon  wages,  but  partly  upon  wages, 
partly  upon  the  return  'of  invested  money,  I  believe  the  great  problem  of 
our  time  would  be  approaching  its  solution. 

As  regards  rent,  I  think  that  all  Anarchists,  including  even  sober-minded 
Liberty,  use  force  to  get  rid  of  it.  The  doctrine  of  use-possession  seems 
almost  framed  for  this  purpose.  Even  if  it  suits  certain  persons  to  sell  me 
a  hundred  acres,  and  it  suits  me  to  buy  it,  and  it  suits  other  people  to  rent 
it  from  me, — as  I  understand.  Liberty  would  not  sanction  the  proceeding. 
We  are  all  of  us,  in  fact,  to  be  treated  as  children,  who  don't  know  our 
own  interests,  and  for  whom  somebody  else  is  to  judge.  You  may  reply 
that  under  the  Anarchist  system  no  action  would  be  taken  to  prevent  such 
an  arrangement  ;  only  that  no  action  would  be  taken  to  prevent  the  tenants 
from  establishing  themselves  as  proprietors  and  ignoring  their  rent  owed 
to  me.  Good ;  but  then  how  do  you  justify  the  fact  that  there  is  a  pro- 
posed machinery  (local  juries,  etc.)  to  secure  the  possessor  who  holds 
under  use-possession  in  his  holding  and  to  prevent  his  disturbance  by 
somebody  else?  Put  these  two  opposed  treatments  together,  and  it 
means  to  say  that  a  certain  body  of  men  have  settled  for  others  a  form  in 
which  they  may  hold  property,  and  a  form  in  which  they  may  not.  The 
desires  and  the  conveniences  of  the  persons  themselves  are  set  aside,  and, 
as  in  old  forms  of  government,  a  principle  representing  centralization  and 
socialistic  regulation  obtains.     Is  this  Anarchy  ? 

AuBERON  Herbert. 

Mr.  Herbert's  disclaimer  is  of  course  sufificient  to  establish 
the  fact  that  he  did  not  mean  to  charge  me  with  an  attempt  to 
prohibit  lending  and  borrowing.  But  I  must  remind  him  that 
the  charge  which  he  made  against  me  he  made  also  at  the 
saine  time  against  his  correspondent,  Mr.  J.  Armsden  ;  that 
Mr.  Armsden  interpreted  it  as  I  did  and  protested  against  its 
application  to  himself  (though  gratuitously  allowing  that  it  was 
justly  applicable  to  me)  ;  and  that  Mr.  Herbert  made  rejoin- 
der, if  my  memory  serves  me,  that  he  had  misunderstood 
Mr.  Armsden.  Now,  I  cannot  see  why  Mr.  Herbert  should 
not  admit  in  the  same  unqualified  way  that  he  misunderstood 
me,  instead  of  suggesting  that  I  misunderstood  him.  But  this 
is  of  little  consequence  ;  I  am  satisfied  to  call  it  a  case  of 
mutual  misunderstanding. 

To  avoid  such  misunderstanding  in  future,  however,  is  of 
real  importance  ;  and  to  that  end  I  must  further  remind  Mr. 
Herbert  that,  when  I  use  the  word  right,  I  do  so  in  one  of  two 
senses,  which  the  context  generally  determines, — either  in  the 
moral  sense  of  irresponsible  prerogative,  or  in  the  social  sense 


of  accorded  guarantee.  Mr.  Herbert,  knowing  that  I  am  an 
Egoist,  must  be  perfectly  aware  that  it  v/oiild  be  impossible 
for  me  to  enter  upon  a  moral  campaign  against  any  special 
right  in  the  sense  of  irresponsible  prerogative,  for  it  is  the 
Egoistic  position  either  that  no  one  has  any  rights  whatever  or 
— what  amounts  to  the  same  thing — that  every  one  has  all 
rights.  But  it  would  be  equally  impossible  for  me  to  enter 
upon  a  moral  campaign  against  a  right  in  the  sense  of  accorded 
guarantee,  unless  it  were  a  case  where  I  should  consider  myself 
justified,  if  it  seemed  expedient,  in  turning  that  moral  cam- 
paign into  a  force  campaign.  For  I  could  have  no  objection 
to  any  accorded  guarantee  save  on  the  ground  that  the  thing 
guaranteed  was  a  privilege  of  invasion,  and  against  invasion  I 
am  willing  to  use  any  weapons  that  will  accomplish  its  destruc- 
tion, preferring  moral  weapons  in  all  cases  where  they  are 
effective,  but  willing  to  resort  to  those  of  physical  force  when- 
ever necessary.  So  Mr.  Herbert  is  now  duly  cautioned  not  to 
charge  me  with  maintaining,  against  any  right  whatever,  a  cam- 
paign which  anything  but  expediency  makes  exclusively  moral. 

To  go  now  from  the  general  to  the  particular.  I  could  not 
engage  in  any  sort  of  campaign  against  the  right  to  lend  and 
borrow,  because  I  do  not  consider  that  right  a  privilege  of  in- 
Tasion.  If,  however,  lending  and  borrowing  should  disappear 
in  consequence  of  the  overthrow  of  that  form  of  invasion 
which  consists  of  the  monopoly  of  the  right  to  issue  notes  as 
currency,  that  is  not  my  affair. 

It  is  the  contention  of  the  Anarchists  that  lending  and  bor- 
rowing, and  consequently  interest,  will  virtually  disappear  when 
banking  is  made  free.  Mr.  Herbert's  only  answer  to  this  is 
that  he  considers  interest  moral  and  useful.  Does  he  mean  by 
this  that  that  is  moral  and  useful  which  will  disappear  under 
free  competition  ?  Then  why  does  he  favor  free  competition  ? 
Or  does  he  deny  that  interest  will  so  disappear?  Then  let  him 
disprove  the  Anarchists'  definite  and  succinct  argument  that 
it  will.  In  my  last  article,  to  which  his  present  article  is  a 
reply,  I  strongly  invited  him  to  do  this,  but  as  usual  he  ignores 
the  invitation.  Nevertheless  he  and  all  his  Individualistic 
friends  will  have  to  meet  us  on  that  issue  sooner  or  later,  and 
he  may  as  well  face  the  music  at  once. 

Now,  a  word  about  rent.  It  is  true  that  Anarchists,  includ- 
ing sober-minded  Liberty,  'do,  in  a  sense,  propose  to  get  rid  of 
ground-rent  by  force.  That  is  to  say,  if  landlords  should  try 
to  evict  occupants,  the  Anarchists  advise  the  occupants  to 
combine  to  maintain  their  ground  by  force  whenever  they  see 
that  they  can  do  so  successfully.     But  it  is  also  true  that  the 

212  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

Individualists,  including  sober-minded  Mr.  Herbert,  propose 
to  get  rid  of  theft  by  force.  "  Even  if  it  suits  certain  persons 
to  sell  me  "  Mr.  Herbert's  overcoat,  "  and  it  suits  me  to  buy  it, 
and  it  suits  other  people  to  rent  it  from  me  — as  I  understand," 
Mr.  Herbert  "  would  not  sanction  the  proceeding.  We  are  all 
of  us,  in  fact,  to  be  treated  as  children,  who  don't  know  our 
own  interests,  and  for  whom  somebody  else  is  to  judge."  The 
Anarchists  justify  the  use  of  machinery  (local  juries,  etc.)  to 
adjust  the  property  question  involved  in  rent  just  as  the  Indi- 
vidualists justify  similar  machinery  to  adjust  the  property  ques- 
tion involved  in  theft.  And  when  the  Individualists  so  adjust 
the  property  question  involved  in  theft,  this  "  means  to  say  that 
a  certain  body  of  men  have  settled  for  others  a  form  in  which 
they  may  hold  property  and  a  form  in  which  they  may  not," 
regardless  of  "  the  desires  and  conveniences  of  the  persons 

Yes,  this  is  Anarchy,  and  this  is  Individualism.  The  trouble 
with  Mr.  Herbert  is  that  he  begs  the  question  of  property  alto- 
gether, and  insists  on  treating  the  land  problem  as  if  it  were 
simply  a  question  of  buying  and  selling  and  lending  and  bor- 
rowing, to  be  settled  simply  by  the  open  market.  Here  I  meet 
him  with  the  words  of  his  more  conservative  brother  in  Indi- 
vidualism, Mr.  J.  H.  Levy,  editor  of  the  Personal  Rights 
Journal,  who  is  trying  to  show  Mr.  Herbert  that  he  ought  to 
call  himself  an  Anarchist  instead  of  an  Individualist.  Mr. 
Levy  says,  and  I  say  after  him  :  "  When  we  come  to  the  ques- 
tion of  the  ethical  basis  of  property,  Mr.  Herbert  refers  us  to 
'  the  open  market.'  But  this  is  an  evasion.  The  question  is 
not  whether  we  should  be  able  to  sell  or  acquire  in  'the  open 
market  ■"  anything  which  we  rightfully  possess,  but  how  we 
come  into  rightful  possession.  And,  if  men  differ  on  this,  as 
they  do  most  emphatically,  how  is  this  to  be  settled  ?" 


[Liberty,  August  i8,  1888.I 

7'c  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

During  the  past  six  months  I  have  read  your  paper  searchingly,  and 
greatly  admire  it  in  many  respects,  but  as  yet  do  not  grasp  your  theory 
of  interest.  Can  you  give  space  for  a  few  words  to  show  from  your 
standpoint  the  fallacy  in  the  following  ideas? 

Interest  I  understand  to  be  a  payment,  not  for  money,  but  for  capital 
which   the  money  represents  ;  that  is,  for   the  use  of  the   accumulated 


wealth  of  the  race.  As  that  is  limited,  while  human  wants  are  infinite, 
it  would  appear  that  there  will  always  be  a  demand  for  more  than  exists. 
The  simplest  way  of  solving  the  difficulty  would,  therefore,  be  to  put  the 
social  capital  up  and  let  open  competition  settle  its  price.  Added  accu- 
mulation means  greater  competition  to  let  it,  so  that  its  price  will  be  low- 
ered year  by  year.  But  can  that  price  ever  become  nothing  so  long  as 
men  have  additional  wants  that  capital  can  assist  to  fill  ?  Yet  Mr.  West- 
rup  advocates  a  rate  of  interest  based  on  the  cost  of  issuing  the  money, 
— that  is,  allowing  nothing  for  the  capital.  Is  "stored  labor"  so  plenty 
as  to  be  cheaper  than  blackberries  ? 

For  illustration,  A  has  |i,ooo  worth  of  land, buildings,  etc.,  in  a  farm, 
but  sees  that  he  can  use  $1,500  worth  profitably.  So  he  places  a  mort- 
gage of  $500  on  the  place  and  invests  it  in  more  property.  Now  to  say 
that  he  should  have  that  additional  property  merely  for  the  cost  of  issu- 
ing the  paper  which  represents  it  during  the  transfer  would  be  like  saying 
that,  when  he  bought  his  house,  he  should  have  it  merely  for  cost  of  the 
transfer  papers, — the  deeds,  etc., — paying  nothing  for  the  house  itself. 

In  a  line  my  query  is  :  Where  do  your  definitions  of  interest  and  dis- 
count on  money  diverge?  Yours  truly, 

J.  Herbert  Foster. 
Meriden,  Connecticut. 

Discount  is  the  sum  deducted  in  advance  from  property 
temporarily  transferred,  by  the  owner  thereof,  as  a  condition 
of  the  transfer,  regardless  of  the  ground  upon  which  such 
condition  is  demanded. 

Interest  is  payment  for  the  use  of  property,  and,  if  paid  in 
advance,  is  that  portion  of  the  discount  exacted  by  the  owner 
of  the  property  temporarily  transferred  which  he  claims  as 
payment  for  the  benefit  conferred  upon  the  other  party,  as  dis- 
tinguished from  that  portion  which  he  claims  as  payment  for 
the  burden  borne  by  himself. 

The  opponents  of  interest  desire,  by  reducing  the  rate  of 
discount  to  cost,  or  price  of  burden  borne,  to  thereby  elimi- 
nate from  discount  all  payment  merely  for  benefit  conferred. 

But  they  are  entirely  innocent  of  any  desire  to  abolish  pay- 
ment for  burden  borne,  as  it  certain-l'y  would  be  abolished  in 
the  case  supposed  by  Mr.  Foster,  were  A  to  obtain  his  extra 
$500  worth  of  property  simply  by  paying  the  cost  of  making 
out  the  transfer  papers.  A  certainly  could  not  thus  obtain  it 
under  the  system  of  credit  proposed  by  the  opponents  of  inter- 
est. His  obligation  is  not  discharged  when  he  has  paid  over 
to  the  man  of  whom  he  buys  the  property  the  $500  which  he 
has  borrowed  on  mortgage.  He  still  has  to  discharge  the 
mortgage  by  paying  to  the  lender  of  the  money,  at  the  expira- 
tion of  the  loan,  in  actual  wealth  or  valid  documentary  claim 
upon  wealth,  the  $500  which  he'borrowed.  That  is  the  time 
when  he  really  pays  for  the  property  in  which  he  invested. 
Now,  the  question  is  whether  he  shall  pay  simply  the  $500, 

214  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

which  is  supposed  to  represent  the  full  value  of  the  property 
at  the  time  he  made  the  investment,  or  whether  he  shall  also 
pay  a  bonus  for  the  use  of  the  property  up  to  the  time  when 
he  finally  pays  for  it.  The  opponents  of  interest  say  that  he 
should  not  pay  this  bonus,  because  his  use  of  the  property  has 
imposed  no  burden  upon  the  lender  of  the  money,  and  under 
free  competition  there  is  no  price  where  there  is  no  burden. 
They  declare,  not  that  he  should  not  pay  the  $500,  but  that 
the  only  bonus  he  should  pay  is  to  be  measured  by  the  cost  of 
making  out  the  mortgage  and  other  documents,  including  all 
the  expenses  incidental  thereto. 

The  only  reason  why  he  now  has  to  pay  a  bonus  propor- 
tional to  the  benefit  he  derives  from  the  use  of  the  property  is 
found  in  the  fact  that  the  lender  of  the  money,  or  the  original 
issuer  of  the  money,  from  whom  the  lender  procured  it  more 
or  less  directly,  has  secured- a  monopoly  of  money  manufac- 
ture and  can  therefore  proportion  the  price  of  his  product  to 
the  necessities  of  his  customers,  instead  of  being  forced  by  com- 
petition to  limit  it  to  the  average  cost  of  manufacture.  In 
short,  what  the  opponents  of  interest  object  to  is,  not  payment 
for  property  purchased,  but  a.  tax  upon  the  transfer  papers ; 
and  the  very  best  of  all  arguments  against  interest,  or  pay- 
ment for  the  use  of  property,  is  the  fact  that,  at  the  present 
advanced  stage  in  the  operation  of  economic  forces,  it  cannot 
exist  to  any  great  extent  without  taking  this  form  of  a  tax 
upon  the  transfer  papers. 

Shall  the  transfer  papers  be  taxed  ?  That  is  the  ques- 
tion which  Liberty  asks,  and  Mr.  Foster  has  already  answered 
it  in  the  negative  by  saying  that  open  competition  should  be 
left  to  settle  the  price  of  capital.  But  when  this  open  compe- 
tition is  secured,  it  will  be  found  that,  though  there  may  be  no 
limit  to  the  desire  for  wealth,  there  is  a  limit  at  any  given 
time  to  the  capacity  of  the  race  to  utilize  capital,  and  that  the 
amount  of  capital  created  will  always  tend  to  exceed  this 
capacity.  Then  capital  will  seek  employment  and  be  glad  to 
lend  itself  to  labor  for  nothing,  asking  only  to  be  kept  intact, 
and  reimbursed  for  the  cost  of  the  transfer  papers.  Such  is 
the  process  by  which  interest,  or  payment  for  the  use  of  prop' 
erty,  not  only  will  be  lowered,  but  will  entirely  disappear. 



\Liberty,  December  i,  1888.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

I  have  read  attentively  Mr.  Westrup's  farther  statement  on  mutual 
banking,  but  fail  to  see  wherein  he  touches  what  is  to  my  mind  the  vital 
point.  He  says  that  the  system  "  would  not  be  making  use  of  capital 
that  belonged  to  some  one  else."  Then  I  cannot  see  how  it  would  an- 
swer its  purpose.  The  bank  itself  has  no  capital  save  the  pledges  ad- 
vanced by  borrowers,  and  if  they  take  out  no  more  than  they  put  in,  they 
make  no  gain,  but  are  merely  to  the  expense  of  the  transaction.  On 
the  other  hand,  if  they  do  take  out  more,  some  one  else  must  have  put  it 
in.  They  do  not  increase  their  wealth  by  using  their  own  property  as  a 
basis  on  which  to  make  advances  to  themselves.  It  is  only  when  some  one 
else  accepts  it  as  a  pledge  on  which  to  advance  his  property  that  they 
have  made  a  gain.  And  if  there  is  no  one  to  be  paid  a  dividend  but  "  the 
same  borrowers,"  that  some  one  else  will  go  unpaid. 

The  borrower's  object  is  to  get  the  use  of  additional  capital,  not  of  the 
money  that  represents  it  during  the  transfer.  If  he  gets  it,  "some  one 
[else]  is  deprived  of  the  use  of  that  much  wealth,"  as  two  cannot  use  the 
same  property  at  the  same  time.  Our  farmer  worth  $1,000,  who  bor- 
rowed $500  and  invested  it,  found  at  the  end  of  the  transaction  that  he 
had  at  his  disposal  $1,500  worth  of  property.  Now,  where  did  the  last 
$500  worth  come  from  ?  Like  all  created  things,  its  ownership  vested 
rightfully  in  its  creator  ;  the  farmer  was  not  that  creator,  or  he  would  not 
have  had  to  borrow  it.  The  bank,  in  issuing  a  volume  of  circulating  me- 
dium, neither  increased  nor  diminished  the  aggregate  wealth  of  the  coun- 
try appreciably.  It  engaged  in  no  "productive"  industry.  It  did  not 
create  500  dollars'  nor  500  cents'  worth  of  property.  In  fact,  Mr.  West- 
rup's rate  of  interest  represents  what  it  did  create  in  additional  value  in 
making  out  the  transfer  papers, — a  fraction  of  one  per  cent,  of  the  $500. 
If,  then,  neither  the  bank  nor  the  farmer  created  it,  is  it  not  clear  that 
they  "  made  use  of  capital  that  belonged  to  some  one  else  "  ? 

The  distinction  between  owning  property  and  merely  having  the  use  of 
it  has  been  pointed  out  to  me,  but  appears  largely  verbal,  for  the  only 
value  of  property  is  the  use  thereof.  At  any  rate,  it  seems  clear  that  our 
farmer  gets  the  use  of  $500  worth  of  properly  so  long  as  he  pays  the  ex- 
pense of  keeping  $500  of  circulating  medium  afloat.  He  uses  his  $1,000 
worth  of  property  as  a  guarantee  to  the  producer  of  the  $500  of  value 
that  the  latter  shall  receive  back  his  property  intact,  but  with  no  payment 
for  use. 

If  I  have  understood  correctly  the  reply  to  my  former  letter,  this  is 
Liberty's  idea  ;  but  I  do  not  see  that  Mr.  Westrup  coincides.  However, 
if  I  am  in  error,  I  trust  I  am  "  open  to  conviction  "  and  await  further 

J.  Herbert  Foster. 

Mr.  Foster's  difficulty  arises  from  the  futile  attempt,  v\'hich 
many  others  have  made  before  him,  to  distinguish  money 
from  capital,  the  real  fact  being  that  money,  though  not  capi- 
tal in  a,  material  sense,  is,  in  the  economic  sense  and  to  all  in- 

2l6  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

tents  and  purposes,  the  most  perfect  and  desirable  form  of 
capital,  for  the  reason  that  it  is  the  only  form  of  capital  which 
will  at  any  time  almost  instantly  procure  all  other  forms  of 
capital.  Practically  speaking,  that  man  has  capital  who  holds 
an  instantly  convertible  title  to  capital.* 

If  this  be  true,  then  Mr.  Foster's  claim  that  mutual  bank- 
ing involves  the  "  making  use  of  capital  that  belongs  to  some 
one  else  "  falls  immediately.  Does  he  mean  to  say  that,  when 
the  borrower  of  a  mutual  bank's  notes  goes  into  the  market 
and  buys  capital  with  them,  he  is  thereljy  keeping  the  seller 
out  of  his  capital  ?  If  so,  then  Mr.  Foster,  when  he  pays  his 
butcher  cash  for  a  beefsteak  for  his  to-morrow's  breakfast,  is 
keeping  his  butcher  out  of  his  capital.  But  does  either  he  or 
his  butcher  ever  look  at  his  conduct  in  that  light?  If  that  is 
being  kept  out  of  capital,  then  is  the  butcher  only  too  glad  to 
be  thus  deprived.  He  keeps  a  shop  for  the  express  purpose 
of  being  kept  out  of  his  capital,  and  he  feels  that  it's  very 
hard  lines  and  a  very  dull  season  when  he  isn't  kept  out  of  it. 
He  knows  that,  when  he  sells  a  beefsteak  to  Mr.  Foster  for 
cash,  he  parts  with  capital  for  which  he  has  no  use  himself 
and  gets  in  exchange  a  title  convertible  whenever  he  may 
choose  into  such  capital  as  he  has  use  for,  and  he  knows  fur- 
ther that  he  greatly  benefits  by  the  transaction.  The  position 
of  Mr.  Foster's  butcher  is  precisely  parallel  to  that  of  the 
manufacturer  of  machinery  who  sells  a  plough  or  a  press  or 
an  engine  to  a  borrower  from  a  mutual  bank.  Clearly,  then, 
Mr.  Foster's  sympathy  for  this  manufacturer  is  misplaced. 

Of  course  the  position  which  I  have  just  taken  does  not 
hold  with  notes  that  will  not  command  capital, — that  is,  that 
are  not  readily  received  as  money.  But  that  is  not  the  point 
under  dispute.  When  Mr.  Foster  shall  question  the  solvency 
of  mutual  money,  I  will  meet  him  on  that  point  also.  For 
the  present  ray  sole  contention  against  him  is  that  the  man 
who  exchanges  a  material  value  for  good  money  is  not  thereby 
kept  out  of  his  capital. 

*  This  paragraph  on  the  surface  seems  contradictory  of  the  position 
taken  on  a  previous  page  in  answer  to  "  Basis."  And  in  form  and 
terms  it  does  contradict  it.  But  a  careful  reading  of  both  passages,  in 
connection  with  the  accompanying  explanatory  sentences,  will  show  that 
there  is  no  inconsistency  between  them. 

MONEY    AND    INTEREST.  21 7 


[Lz'deriy,  July  26.  1890.] 

When  I  saw  the  word  "  Interest  "  at  the  top  of  an  article  in 
a  recent  issue  of  To-day,  I  said  to  myself:  This  looks  prom- 
ising ;  either  the  editor  of  To-day  is  about  to  remove  the 
basis  (so  far  as  his  paper  is  concerned)  of  Mr.  Yarros's  vigor- 
ous criticism  upon  journals  of  its  class  that  they  fail  of  influ- 
ence because  they  neglect  to  show  that  individualism  will  re- 
dress economic  grievances,  or  else  he  has  discovered  some 
vital  flaw  in  the  Anarchist  economics  and  is  about  to  save  us 
further  waste  of  energy  by  showing  that  economic  liberty  will 
not  produce  the  results  we  predict  from  it.  Fancy  my  disap- 
pointment when,  on  reading  the  article,  I  found  it  made  up, 
seven  eighths,  of  facts  and  historical  remarks  which  would  be 
more-interesting  if  less  venerable,  but  which,  though  pertinent 
as  throwing  light  upon  the  conditions  under  which  interest 
arose,  prevailed,  and  fluctuated,  have  not  the  remotest  bear- 
ing upon  the  arguments  of  those  who  dispute  the  viability  of 
interest  to-day  ;  one-sixteenth,  of  the  assertion  of  an  economic 
truism,  equally  without  significance  in  connection  with  those 
arguments  ;  and,  one-sixteenth,  of  the  assertion  of  an  economic 
error,  which  assertion  betrays  no  familiarity  with  those  argu- 
ments (although  it  is  within  my  knowledge  that  the  editor  of 
To-day  possesses  such  familiarity  in  a  considerable  degree), 
and  which  error  can  be  sufficiently  refuted  by  stating  it  in  a 
slightly  different  form. 

The  irrelevant  facts  I  ignore.  I  do  not  care  a  copper 
whether  interest  was  twelve  per  cent,  in  Aristotle's  time  or 
eighteen  in  Solon's  ;  whether  Catholicism  and  Mohammedan- 
ism were  united  in  their  aversion  to  it ;  whether  Jew  or  Chris- 
tian has  been  the  greater  usurer.  The  modern  opponents  of 
interest  are  perfectly  willing  to  consider  facts  tending  to  refute 
their  position,  but  no  facts  can  have  such  a  tendency  unless 
they  belong  to  one  of  two  classes  :  first,  facts  showing  that 
interest  has  generally  (not  sporadically)  existed  in  a  commun- 
ity in  whose  economy  money  was  as  important  a  factor  as  it  is 
with  us  to-day  and  in  whose  laws  there  was  no  restriction 
upon  its  issue;  or,  second,  facts  showing  that  interest  is  sus- 
tained by  causes  that  would  still  be  effectively,  invincibly 
operative  after  the  abolition  of  the  banking  monopoly.  I  do 
not  find  any  such  facts  among  those  cited  by  To-day.  The 
array  is  formidable  in  appearance  only.     Possession  of  encyclo- 

2l8  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

paedic  knowledge  is  a  virtue  which  Spencer  sometimes  exag- 
gerates into  a  vice,  and  a  vice  which  some  of  his  disciples  too 
seldom  reduce  to  the  proportions  of  a  virtue. 

To  the  economic  truism  I  will  give  a  little  more  attention, 
its  irrelevancy  being  less  apparent.  Here  it  is  :  "  The  exist- 
ence of  interest  depends,  of  course,  primarily  upon  the  exist- 
ence of  private  property."  I  call  this  a  truism,  though  the 
word  "  primarily  "  introduces  an  element  of  error.  If  we  are 
to  inquire  upon  what  interesi  J>rimari'fy  depends,  we  shall  start 
upon  an  endless  journey  into  the  realm  of  metaphysics.  But 
without  entering  that  realm  we  certainly  can  go  farther  back 
in  the  series  than  private  property  and  find  that  interest 
depends  still  more  remotely  upon  the  existence  of  human 
beings  and  even  of  the  universe  itself.  However,  interest 
undoubtedly  depends  upon  private  property,  and,  if  this  fact 
had  any  significance,  I  should  not  stop  to  trifle  over  the  word 
"  primarily."  But  it  has  no  significance.  It  only  seems  to 
have  significance  because  it  carries,  or  seems  to  be  supposed 
to  carry,  the  implication  that,  if  private  property  is  a  necessary 
condition  of  interest,  interest  is  a  necessary  result  of  private 
property.  The  inference,  of  course,  is  wholly  unwarranted  by 
logic,  but  that  it  is  intended  appears  from  a  remark  almost 
immediately  following  :  "  Expectations  have  been  entertained 
that  it  [interest]  will  eventually  become  zero  ;  but  this  stage 
will  probably  be  reached  only  when  economic  products  become 
common  free  property  of  the  human  race."  The  word  "prob- 
ably "  leaves  the  writer,  to  be  sure,  a  small  logical  loophole 
of  escape,  but  it  is  not  expected  that  the  reader  will  notice  it, 
the  emphasis  being  all  in  the  other  direction.  The  reader  is 
expected  to  look  upon  interest  as  a  necessary  result  of  private 
property  simply  because  without  private  property  there  could 
be  no  interest.  Now,  my  hat  sometimes  hangs  upon  a  hook, 
and,  if  there  were  no  hook,  there  could  be  no  hanging  hat ; 
but  it  by  no  means  follows  that  because  there  is  a  hook  there 
must  be  a  hanging  hat.  Therefore,  if  I  wanted  to  abolish 
hanging  hats,  it  would  be  idle,  irrelevant,  and  illogical  to 
declare  that  I  must  first  abolish  hooks.  Likewise  it  is  idle, 
irrelevant,  and  illogical  to  declare  that  before  interest  can  be 
abolished  private  property  must  be  abolished.  Take  another 
illustration.  If  there  were  no  winter,  water-pipes  would  never 
freeze  up,  but  it  is  not  necessary  to  abolish  winter  to  prevent 
this  freezing.  Human  device  has  succeeded  in  preventing  it 
as  a  general  thing.  Similarly,  without  private  property  there 
would  be  no  borrowing  of  capital  and  therefore  no  interest ; 
but  it  is  claimed  that,  without  abolishing  private  property,  a 

MONEY    AND    iNTERESt .  610 

human  device — namely,  money  and  banking — will,  if  not  re- 
stricted, prevent  the  necessity  of  borrowing  capital  as  a  gene- 
ral thing,  and  therefore  virtually  abolish  interest  ;  though 
interest  might  still  be  paid  in  extraordinary  cases,  just  as 
water-pipes  still  freeze  up  under  extraordinary  conditions.  Is 
this  claim  true  ?     That  is  the  only  question. 

This  claim  is  met  in  the  single  relevant  sixteenth  of  To- 
day's article, — that  already  referred  to  as  an  economic  error. 
But  it  is  met  simply  by  denial,  which  is  not  disproof.  I  give 
the  writer's  words : 

The  most  popular  fallacy  upon  the  subject  now  is  that  the  rate  of  in- 
terest can  be  lowered  by  increasing  the  amount  of  currency.  What  men 
really  wish  to  borrow  usually  is  capital, — agencies  of  production, — and 
money  is  only  a  means  for  the  transfer  of  these.  The  amount  of  cur- 
rency can  have  no  effect  upon  the  abundance  of  capital,  and  even  an  in- 
crease in  the  abundance  of  capital  does  not  always  lower  the  rate  of 
interest;  this  is  partly  determined  by  the  value  of  capital  in  use. 

This  paragraph,  though  introduced  with  a  rather  nonchalant 
air,  seems  to  have  been  the  objective  point  of  the  entire  article. 
All  the  rest  was  apparently  written  to  furnish  an  occasion  for 
voicing  the  excessively  silly  notion  that  "  the  amount  of  cur- 
rency can  have  no  effect  upon  the  abundance  of  capital."  As 
I  have  already  said,  to  show  how  silly  it  is-,  it  is  only  necessary 
to  slightly  change  the  wording  of  the  phrase.  Let  it  be  stated 
thus  :  "The  abolition  of  currency  can  have  no  effect  upon  the 
abundance  of  capital."  Of  course,  if  the  former  statement  is 
true,  the  latter  follows.  But  the  latter  is  manifestly  absurd, 
and  hence  the  former  is  false.  To  affirm  it  is  to  affirm  that 
currency  does  not  facilitate  the  distribution  of  wealth  ;  for  if 
it  does,  then  it  increases  the  effective  demand  for  wealth,  and 
hence  the  production  of  wealth,  and  hence  the  abundance 
of  capital.  It  is  true  that  "  an  increase  in  the  abundance 
of  capital  does  not  always  lower  the  rate  of  interest."  An 
extra  horse  attached  to  a  heavy  load  does  not  always  move 
the  load.  If  the  load  is  heavy  enough,  two  extra  horses  will 
be  required  to  move  it.  But  it  is  always  the  tendency  of 
the  first  extra  horse  to  move  it,  whether  he  succeeds  or  not. 
In  the  same  way,  increase  of  capital  always  tends  to  lower 
interest  up  to  the  time  when  interest  disappears  entirely. 
But  though  increased  capital  lowers  interest  and  increased 
currency  increases  capital,  increased  currency  also  acts  directly 
in  lowering  interest  before  it  has  increased  the  amount  of 
capital.  It  is  here  that  the  editor  of  To-day  seems  to  show 
unfamiliarity  with  the  position  of  the  opponents  of  interest. 
It  is  true  that  what  men  really  wish   to  get  is  capital, — the 

220  INSTEAD   OF   A   BOOK. 

agencies  of  production.  And  it  is  precisely  because  money 
is  "  a  means  for  the  transfer  of  these  "  that  the  ability  to  issue 
money  secured  by  their  own  property  would  make  it  unneces- 
sary for  them  to  borrow  these  agencies  by  enabling  them  to 
buy  them.  This  raises  a  question  which  I  have  asked  hun- 
dreds of  times  of  defenders  of  interest  and  which  has  invari- 
ably proved  a  "poser."  I  will  now  put  it  to  the  editor  of 
To-day.  A  is  a  farmer  owning  a  farm.  He  mortgages  his 
farm  to  a  bank  for  $i,ooo,  giving  the  bank  a  mortgage  note 
for  that  .  sum  and  receiving  in  exchange  the  bank's  notes 
for  the  same  sum,  which  are  secured  by  the  mortgage.  With 
the  bank-notes  A  buys  farming  tools  of  B.  The  next  day  B 
uses  the  notes  to  buy  of  C  the  materials  used  in  the  manufac- 
ture of  tools.  The  day  after,  C  in  turn  pays  them  to  D  in 
exchange  for  something  that  he  needs.  At  the  end  of  a  year, 
after  a  constant  succession  of  exchanges,  the  notes  are  in  the 
hands  of  Z,  a  dealer  in  farm  produce.  He  pays  them  to  A, 
who  gives  in  return  fi,ooo  worth  of  farm  products  which  he 
has  raised  during  the  year.  Then  A  carries  the  notes  to  the 
bank,  receives  in  exchange  for  them  his  mortgage  note,  and 
the  bank  cancels  the  mortgage.  Now,  in  this  whole  circle  of 
transactions,  has  there  been  any  lending  of  capital  ?  If  so, 
who  was  the  lender?  If  not,  who  is  entitled  to  any  interest  ? 
I  call  upon  the  editor  of  To-day  to  answer  this  question.  It 
is  needless  to  assure  him  that  it  is  vital. 


{^Liberty.,  August  i6,  1890.] 

To-day's  rejoinder  to  my  criticism  of  its  article  on  interest 
is  chiefly  remarkable  as  an  exhibition  of  dust-throwing.  In 
the  art  of  kicking  up  a  dust  the  editor  is  an  expert.  When- 
ever he  is  asked  an  embarrassing  question,  he  begins  to  show 
his  skill  in  this  direction.  He  reminds  one  of  the  clown  at 
the  circus  when  "stumped"  by  the  ring-master  to  turn  a 
double  somersault  over  the  elephant's  back.  He  prances  and 
dances,  jabbers  and  gyrates,  quotes  Latin  forwards  and  Greek 
backwards,  declaims  in  the  style  of  Dr.  Johnson  to  the  fish- 
wife, sings  algebraical  formulae  to  the  music  of  the  band, 
makes  faces,  makes  puns,  and  makes  an  excellent  fool  of  him- 
self ;  and  when  at  the  end  of  all  this  enormous  activity  he 
slyly  slips  between  the  elephant's  legs  instead  of  leaping  over 

MONfiY  AMD  MXERESf.  fit 

his  back,  the  hilarious  crowd,  if  it  does  not  forget  his  failure 
to  perform  the  prescribed  feat,  at  least  good-humoredly  for- 
gives it.  But  I  am  not  so  good-natured.  I  admit  that,  as  a 
clown,  I  find  the  editor  interesting,  but  his  performance,  ap- 
propriate enough  in  a  Barnum  circus  ring,  is  out  of  place  in 
the  economic  arena.  So  I  propose  to  ignore  his  three  pages 
of  antics  and  note  only  his  ten-line  slip  between  the  elephant's 
legs,  or,  laying  metaphor  aside,  his  evasion  of  my  question. 

I  had  challenged  him  to  point  out  any  lending  of  capital  in 
a  typical  banking  transaction  which  I  had  described.  He  re- 
sponds by  asking  me  to  define  capital.  This  is  the  slip,  the 
evasion,  the  postponement  of  the  difficulty.  He  knows  that, 
if  he  can  draw  me  off  into  a  discussion  of  the  nature  of  capital, 
there  will  be  an  admirable  opportunity  for  more  clownishness, 
since  there  is  no  point  in  political  economy  that  lends  itself 
more  completely  to  the  sophist's  art  than  this.  But  I  am  not 
to  be  turned  aside.  I  stick  to  my  question.  In  regard  to  the 
notion  of  capital  the  editor  of  To-day  will  find  me,  so  far 
as  the  immediate  question  at  issue  is  connected  with  it,  the 
most  pliable  man  in  the  world.  I  will  take  the  definition,  if 
he  likes,  that  was  given  in  the  previous  article  in  To-day. 
There  it  was  said  that  money  was  one  thing  and  capital  an- 
other ;  that  capital  consists  of  the  agencies  of  production, 
while  money  is  only  a  means  for  the  transfer  of  these  ;  that 
what  men  really  want  is  not  money,  but  capital" ;  that  it  is  for 
the  use  of  capital  that  interest  is  paid  ;  and  that  this  interest, 
this  price  for  the  use  of  capital,  lowers,  generally  speaking,  as 
capital  becomes  plentier,  and  probably  cannot  disappear  un- 
less abundance  of  capital  shall  reach  the  extreme  of  common 
property.  Now  I  have  shown  (at  least  I  shall  so  claim  until 
my  question  is  answered)  that  in  the  most  ordinary  form  of 
transaction  involving  interest — namely,  the  discounting  of 
notes — there  is  absolutely  no  lending  of  capital  in  the  sense 
in  which  capital  was  used  in  To-day's  first  article,  and  the 
consequence,  of  course,  is  that  that  defence  of  interest  which 
regards  it  as  payment  for  the  use  of  capital  straightway  falls  to 
the  ground.  But  if  the  editor  of  To-day  does  not  like  the 
view  of  capital  that  was  given  in  the  article  criticised,  he  may 
take  some  other;  I  am  perfectly  willing.  He  may  make  a  defi- 
nition of  his  own.  Whatever  it  may  be,  I,  for  the  time  being 
and  for  the  purposes  of  this  argument,  shall  say  "  Amen  "  to  it. 
And  after  that  I  shall  again  press  the  question  whether,  in  the 
transaction  which  I  described,  there  was  any  lending  of  any- 
thing whatever.  And  if  he  shall  then  answer,  as  a  paragraph 
in  his  latest  article  indicates,  "  Yes,  the  bank  lent  its  notes  to 

, 224  INSTEAB   OP   A    BOOK. 

the  farmer,"  I  shall  show  conclusively  that  the  bank  did 
nothing  of  the  kind.  If  I  successfully  maintain  this  conten- 
tion, then  it  will  be  demonstrated  that  the  interest  paid  in  the 
transaction  specified  was  not  paid  for  the  use  of  anything 
whatever,  but  was  a  tax  levied  by  monopoly  and  nothing  else. 

Meantime  it  is  comforting  to  reflect  that  my  labor  has  not 
been  entirely  in  vain.  As  a  consequence  of  my  criticism 
of  To-day's  article  on  interest,  the  editor  has  disowned  it 
(though  it  appeared  unsigned  and  in  editorial  type),  charac- 
terized it  as  "trivial"  (heaven  knows  it  had  the  air  of  grav- 
ity !),  and  squarely  contradicted  its  chief  doctrinal  assertion. 
This  assertion  was  that  "  the  amount  of  currency  can  have  no 
effect  upon  the  abundance  of  capital."  It  is  contradicted  in 
these  terms  :  "  Evidently  money  is  a  necessary  element  in  the 
existing  industrial  plexus,  and  increase  of  capital  is  dependent 
upon  the  supply  of  a  sufficient  amount  of  money."  After  this 
I  have  hopes. 


\Liherfy.,  May  i6,    i8gi.] 

In  a  letter  to  the  London  Herald  of  Anarchy,  Mr.  J. 
Greevz  Fisher  asserts  that  "  government  does  not,  and  never 
can,  fix  the  value  of  gold  or  any  other  commodity,"  and  can- 
not even  affect  such  value  except  by  the  slight  additional  de- 
mand which  it  creates  as  a  consumer.  It  is  true  that  govern- 
ment cannot  fix  the  value  of  a  commodity,  because  its  in- 
fluence is  but  one  of  several  factors  that  combine  to  govern 
value.  But  its  power  to  affect  value  is  out  of  all  proportion  to 
the  extent  of  its  consumption.  Government's  consumption  of 
commodities  is  an  almost  infinitesimal  influence  upon  value  in 
comparison  with  its  prohibitory  power.  One  of  the  chief  fac- 
tors in  the  constitution  of  value  is,  as  Mr.  Fisher  himself  states, 
utility  ;  and  as  long  as  governments  exist,  utility  is  largely  de- 
pendent upon  their  arbitrary  decrees.  When  government  pro- 
hibits the  manufacture  and  sale  of  liquor,  does  it  not  thereby 
reduce  the  value  of  everything  that  is  used  in  such  manufact- 
ure and  sale  ?  If  government  were  to  allow  theatrical  per- 
formances on  Sundays,  would  not  the  value  of  every  building 
that  contains  a  theatre  rise  ?  Have  not  we,  here  in  America, 
just  seen  the  McKinley  bill  change  the  value  of  nearly  every 
article  that  the  people  use  ?     If  government  were  to  decree 

MONEY    ANiD    INTEREST.  22^ 

that  all  plates  shall  be  made  of  tin,  would  not  the  value  of  tin 
rise  and  the  value  of  china  fall  ?  Unquestionably.  Well,  a 
precisely  parallel  thing  occurs  when  government  decrees  that 
all  money  shall  be  made  of  or  issued  against  gold  or  silver  ; 
these  metals  immediately  take  on  an  artificial,  government- 
created  value,  because  of  the  new  use  which  arbitrary  power 
enables  them  to  monopolize,  and  all  other  commodities,  which 
are  at  the  same  time  forbidden  to  be  put  to  this  use,  corre- 
spondingly lose  value.  How  absurd,  then,  in  view  of  these 
indisputable  facts,  to  assert  that  government  can  affect  values 
only  in  the  ratio  of  its  consumption  !  And  yet  Mr.  Fisher 
makes  this  assertion  the  starting-point  of  a  lecture  to  the  editor 
of  the  Herald  of  Anarchy  delivered  in  that  dogmatic,  know- 
it-all  style  which  only  those  are  justified  in  assuming  who 
can  sustain  their  statements  by  facts  and  logic. 


[Liberty^  June  27,  1891.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty : 

In  reference  to  your  remarks  upon  my  recent  contribution  to  the  Lon- 
don Herald  of  Anarchy,  dogmatism  of  manner  must  often  be  adopted 
to  avoid  verbosity  ;  it  is  not  necessarily  an  assumption  of  infallibility. 

The  action  of  governments  with  regard  to  gold  is  not  truly  analogous 
in  its  economic  effects  to  the  prohibition  of  theatrical  performances  on 
Sunday.  In  the  last-named  case,  or  in  any  similar  case  which  we  may 
suppose,  the  effect  is  to  diminish  demand  and  to  prolong  or  retard  con- 
sumption. Thus,  if  we  were  prohibited  from  wearing  shoes,  boots,  etc., 
on  Sunday,  or  if  every  seventh  person  were  prevented  from  using  them, 
then  boots  which  now  wear  out  in  six  months  would  last  seven  months, 
and  we  may  suppose  theatres  which  now  last  seven  years  or  seventy  would 
then  be  worn  out  in  six  or  sixty.  The  immediate  effect  of  opening  thea- 
tres on  Sunday  would  probably  be  to  increase  their  value  very  greatly; 
l)ut  eventually  others  would  be  built,  and  competition  would  reduce  the 
previously  enhanced  value.  The  residual  enhancement  of  value  would  be 
that  resulting  from  the  increased  expense  of  producing  the  last  increment 
in  the  number  of  theatres  which  the  market  in  its  altered  circumstances 
could  support.  There  is  good  reason  to  doubt  whether  this  would  be  ap- 
preciable in  the  cases  taken  of  articles  of  considerable  durability.  If  the 
government  could  reduce  the  consumption  of  food-stuffs,  such  as  wheat, 
and  simultaneously  of  all  substitutes,  by  one-seventh,  it  would  be  a  very 
different  matter. 

But  in  the  case  of  gold  the  interference  of  governments  in  the  present 
day  has  little  effect  in  increasing  consumption.  They  do  not  collect  it  to 
consume  it,  but  simply  to  sell  it.  In  this  country,  beyond  specifying  this 
metal  as  the  vehicle  of  value  in  contributing  to  the  revenue,  the  interfer- 
ence appears  to  be  limited  to  a  restriction  of  the  liberty  of  citizens  to  ex- 

224  INStEAD    OF   A    BOOK. 

change  promises  of  delivery  of  gold  to  bearer  on  demand.  Bank-notes 
(or  bills,  as  they  seem  to  be  called  in  your  country)  may  only  be  issued  by 
certain  bankers,  and  by  them  only  in  a  certain  complex  relation  to  the 
amount  of  gold  they  hold.  But  this  is  only  a  restriction  in  form,  and  not 
in  quantity,  because  checks,  drafts,  and  promissory  notes  other  than  to 
bearer  on  demand  are  issuable  in  unlimited  quantity,  subject  to  certain 
taxes — from  which  the  other  notes  are  not  wholly  exempt — and  are  trans- 
ferable without  further  tax.  What  has  this  to  do  with  the  consumption  of 
gold?     Next  to  nothing! 

Now  there  is  no  legal  obstacle,  nothing,  in  fact,  whatever  except  the  in- 
conveniences of  bulk,  fluctuation  of  value,  and  other  inherent  defects,  to 
prevent  the  introduction  and  circulation  of  promises  of  wheat,  cotton,  oil, 
iron,  or  other  commodity.  This  would  not  have  any  material  effect  upon 
the  consumption,  production,  cost,  or  value  of  these  commodities.  Spec- 
ulative sales  of  ' '  futures  "  tend  on  the  whole  to  steady  values  and  to 
diminish  the  frequency  aud  the  intensity  of  gluts  and  famines. 

Gold  and  silver  are  not  used  (in  the  sense  of  being  consumed)  by  their 
circulation.  They  are  merely  conveyed,  transferred,  and  exchanged  more 
frequently.  The  fact  that  they  are  so  often  bought  by  people  who  do  not 
themselves  require  to  use  them  is  not  unique.  Every  merchant  does  the 
same  with  the  commodity  to  which  he  devotes  his  attention.* 

The  peculiarity  is  that  the  trade  in  gold  is  familiar  to  every  one.  The 
portability,  divisibility,  and  recognizability  of  this  substance  force  it  upon 
the  attention  of  every  one  who  avails  himself  of  the  services  of  others. 
The  production  and  circulation  of  contracts  for  its  future  delivery  are  not 
unique.  This  is  also  done  in  the  case  of  many  other  commodities.  In  both 
cases  there  is  a  very  great  convenience  and  economy  ;  and  in  both  there  is 
avery  appreciable  danger.  Any  such  writings  of  individualists  as  may  in 
any  way  give  the  impression  that  the  free  circulation  of  mutual  indebt- 
edness, miscalled  "  mutual  money,"  will  be  free  from  this  element  of 
danger  are  pernicious.  Freedom  to  incur  and  to  exchange  debts  is  ex- 
ceedingly desirable,  but  rather  because  they  will  encourage,  purify,  and 
chasten  the  spirit  of  enterprise  than  that  they  will  in  themselves  bring 
very  noticeable  economic  gain. 

Apart  from  the  wear  and  tear  involved,  neither  the  government  nor  any 
one  else  consumes  one  ha'penny  worth  more  of  gold  by  reason  of  its  adop- 
tion in  taxation  and  commerce  as  the  most  usual  vehicle  of  value.  Its  use 
for  this  purpose  may  cause  the  world  to  hold  a  larger  stock  than  it  other- 
wise would;  but  this  is  in  every  way  a  benefit,  because  it  steadies  its  Value. 
If  the  metal  were  neglected,  as  platinum  was  until  recently,  then  famine 
and  glut  might  be  observed.  This  would  greatly  lower  the  utility  of  gold 
as  an  intermediate  exchange  commodity,  and  would  not  help  us  to  devise  a 
substitute.  It  would  throw  upon  every  trade,  including  those  who  sell  their 
own  labor,  a  burden  of  doubt  and  uncertainty  in  estimating  its  fluctua- 
tions. The  evil  that  government  does  by  collecting  needless  millions  is 
immeasurably  greater  than  by  its  so-called  maintenance  of  the  gold  stan- 
dard. Yours  respectfully, 

J.  Greevz  Fisher. 

78  Harrogate  Road,  Leeds,  England. 

""■Division  of  labor  originates  in  people  making  something  they  do  not 
themselves  want.  It  is  further  facilitated  by  selling  this  for  one  special 
commodity  which  is  not  directly  wanted. 

MONEY  An£)  INTERESl'.  225 

Dogmatism  can  be  justified  only  by  the  event.  In  its  use 
not  only  does  nothing  succeed  like  success,  but  nothing  suc- 
ceeds but  success.  And  nothing  fails  like  failure.  If  Mr. 
Fisher,  in  addressing  the  Anarchists  upon  finance  as  if  they 
were  babies  and  he  a  giant,  shall  succeed  in  making  his 
assumed  superiority  felt  as  a  reality,  he  will  not  only  be  for- 
given for  his  dogmatism,  but  highly  respected  for  his  knowl- 
edge and  power  ;  but  if  it  shall  appear  that  the  ignorance  and 
weakness  are  on  his  side  rather  than  theirs,  he  will  be  covered 
not  only  with  confusion  by  his  error,  but  with  ridicule  by  the 
collapse  of  his  pretension.  It  is  only  just,  however,  to  say 
that  a  comparison  of  his  letter  to  Liberty  with  his  letter  to 
the  Herald  of  Anarchy  shows  progress  in  the  direction  of 

Already  Mr.  Fisher's  pride  has  been  followed  by  a  fall. 
The  central  position  taken  by  him  at  the  start  that  govern- 
ment cannot  affect  the  value  of  gold  or  any  other  commodity 
except  by  the  slight  additional  demand  which  it  creates  as  a 
consumer  he  has  been  forced  to  abandon  at  the  first  onslaught. 
If  government  were  to  allow  the  opening  of  theatres  on  Sun- 
day, it  would  not  thereby  become  a  consumer  of  theatres  itself 
(at  least  not  in  the  economic  sense;  for,  in  the  United  States 
at  any  rate,  our  governors  always  go  to  the  theatre  as  "  dead- 
heads "),  and  yet  Mr.  Fisher  admits  that  in  such  a  case  the 
value  of  theatres  would  immediately  rise  very  greatly.  This 
admission  is  an  abandonment  of  the  position  taken  at  first  so 
confidently,  and  no  other  consideration  can  make  it  anything 
else.  The  fact  that  competition  would  soon  arise  to  reduce 
the  value  does  not  alter  the  fact  that  for  a  time  this  action  of 
government  would  materially  raise  it,  which  Mr.  Fisher  orig- 
inally declared  an  impossibility.  But  even  if  such  a  plea  had 
any  pertinence,  it  could  be  promptly  destroyed  by  a  slight  ex- 
tension of  the  hypothesis.  Suppose  government,  in  addition 
to  allowing  the  theatres  now  existing  to  open  on  Sunday, 
were  to  prohibit  the  establishment  of  any  additional  theatres. 
Then  the  value  would  not  only  go  up,  but  stay  up.  It  is 
hardly  necessary  to  argue  the  matter  further  ;  Mr.  Fisher 
undoubtedly  sees  that  he  is  wrong.  The  facts  are  too  palpable 
and  numerous.  Why,  since  my  comment  of  a  month  ago  on 
Mr.  Fisher's  position,  it  has  transpired  that  the  cost  of  making 
twist  drills  in  the  United  States  has  been  increased  five  hundred 
and  twenty  per  cent,  by  the  McKinley  bill.  Government  cannot 
affect  value,  indeed! 

In  the  paragraph  to  which  Mr.  Fisher's  letter  is  a  rejoinder 
I  said  that    "  when  government  decrees  that  all  money  shall 

226  INSTEAD    OP    A    BOOK. 

be  made  of  or  issued  against  gold  or  silver,  these  metals  imme- 
diately take  on  an  artificial,  government-created  value,  because 
of  the  new  use  which  arbitrary  power  enables  them  to  monop- 
olize." Mr.  Fisher  meets  this  by  attempting  to  belittle  the 
restrictions  placed  upon  the  issue  of  paper  money,  as  if  all 
vitally  necessary  liberty  to  compete  with  the  gold-bugs  were 
even  now  allowed.  Let  me  ask  my  opponent  one  question. 
Does  the  law  of  England  allow  citizens  to  form  a  bank  for  the 
issue  of  paper  money  against  any  property  that  they  may  see 
fit  to  accept  as  security  ;  said  bank  perhaps  owning  no  specie 
whatever  ;  the  paper  money  not  redeemable  in  specie  except 
at  the  option  of  the  bank;  the  customers  of  the  bank  mutually 
pledging  themselves  to  accept  the  bank's  paper  in  lieu  of  gold 
or  silver  coin  of  the  same  face  value  ;  the  paper  being  re- 
deemable only  at  the  maturity  of  the  mortgage  notes,  and 
then  simply  by  a  return  of  said  notes  and  a  release  of  the 
mortgaged  property, — is  such  an  institution,  I  ask,  allowed  by 
the  law  of  England  ?  If  it  is,  then  I  have  only  to  say  that  the 
working  people  of  England  are  very  great  fools  riot  to  take 
advantage  of  this  inestimable  liberty,  that  the  editor  of  the 
Herald  of  Anarchy  and  his  comrades  have  indeed  nothing  to 
complain  of  in  the  matter  of  finance,  and  that  they  had  better 
turn  their  attention  at  once  to  the  organization  of  such  banks  as 
that  which  I  have  just  described.  But  I  am  convinced  that 
Mr.  Fisher  will  have  to  answer  that  these  banks  are  illegal  in 
England;  and  in  that  case  I  tell  him  again  that  the  present  value 
of  gold  is  a  monopoly  value  sustained  by  the  exclusive  mone- 
tary privilege  given  it  by  government.  It  may  be  true,  as  Mr. 
Fisher  says,  that  just  as  much  gold  would  be  used  if  it  did  not 
possess  this  monopoly.  But  that  has  nothing  to  do  with  the 
question.  Take  the  illustration  that  I  have  already  used  in 
this  discussion  when  I  said:  "If  government  were  to  decree 
that  all  plates  shall  be  made  of  tin,  would  not  the  value  of 
tin  rise  and  the  value  of  china  fall?"  Now,  if  the  supply  of 
tin  were  limited,  and  if  nearly  all  the  tin  were  used  in  making 
plates,  and  if  tin  had  no  other  use  of  great  significance,  it  is 
quite  conceivable  that,  if  the  decree  prohibiting  the  use  of 
china  in  making  plates  should  be  withdrawn,  the  same  amount 
of  tin  might  continue  to  be  used  for  the  same  purpose  as 
before,  and  yet  the  value  of  tin  would  fall  tremendously  in 
consequence  of  the  admitted  competition  of  china.  And  sim- 
ilarly, if  all  property  were  to  be  admitted  to  competition  with 
gold  in  the  matter  of  representation  in  the  currency,  it  is  pos- 
sible that  the  same  amount  of  gold  would  still  be  used  as 


money,  but  its  value  would  decrease  notably, — would  fall, 
that  is  to  say,  from  its  abnormal,  artificial,  government-created 
value,  to  its  normal,  natural,  open-market  value. 


]_Liberty^  July  ti,  1891.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty : 

It  is  much  to  be  regretted  when  Liberty  is  wounded  in  the  house  of  her 
friends.  This  is  caused  by  those  who  regard  liberty  as  a  panacea  for  every 
ill,  or  perhaps  it  would  be  better  to  say  who  regard  the  inevitable  vicissi- 
tudes and  inequalities  of  life  as  evil.  There  is  no  more  philosophical 
reason  for  believing  that  all  men  can  be  equal,  rich,  and  happy  than  for 
believing  that  all  animals  can  be  equal,  including,  of  course,  that  they 
should  all  be  equal  to  men. 

Freedom  is  exceeding  fair.  It  is  by  far  the  most  excellent  way.  Under 
liberty  the  very  best  possible  results  in  every  department  of  human  activ- 
ity, including  commerce,  will  be  obtained.  But  it  won't  make  fools  suc- 
cessful. One  of  its  recommendations  is  that  folly  will  more  surely  be 
remedied  by  getting  its  medicine  than  by  the  grandmotherly  plan  of  pro- 
tection in  all  directions.  In  many  cases  cure  is  better  than  prevention. 
Little  burns,  we  may  be  sure,  save  many  lives,   (i) 

It  seems  to  be  a  fashion  novfadays  amongst  reformers  to  rail  at  our 
existing  systems  of  currency  and  to  regard  government  interference  here 
as  greater  and  more  pernicious  than  in  many  other  matters.  The  truth, 
however,  is  that  there  is  scarcely  anything  which  more  completely  illus- 
trates the  powerlessness  of  government  to  establish  code  in  opposition  to 
custom  than  the  unvarying  failure  of  unsound  currency  enactments,  and 
the  concomitant  dwindling  of  monetary  law  into  a  mere  specification  of 
truisms,  a  registration  of  established  practice,  or  a  system  of  licensing 
certain  individuals  to  carry  on  certain  kinds  of  trade.  But  all  these  are 
evils  not  perculiar  to  the  money  trade,  nor  do  they  here  produce  more  in- 
jurious results  than  in  the  cases  of  priests,  doctors,  accountants,  lawyers, 
engineers,  and  other  privileged  faculties.  (2) 

Schemes  to  bring  about  the  abolition  of  interest,  especially  when  the  au- 
thors promulgate  this  as  a  necessary  consequence  of  free  trade  in  banking, 
are  pernicious,  and  in  their  ultimate  effect  reactionary.  Low  rates  of  in- 
terest depend  upon  the  magnitude  of  the  mass  of  capital  competing  for  in- 
vestment rather  than  upon  the  presence  or  absence  of  the  really  trifling  in- 
terference of  governments  with  the  modes  in  which  debt  may  be  incurred. 
What  is  called  free  trade  in  banking  actually  means  only  unlimited  liberty 
to  create  debt.  It  is  the  erroneous  labelling  of  debt  as  money  which  be- 
gets most  of  the  fallacies  of  currency-faddists,  both  coercionary  and  libera- 
tionist.  (3) 

The  principal  error  of  the  former  is  that  they  advocate  schemes  for  the 
growth  and  preferential  marketing  of  government  debt.  The  ignis fatuus 
of  some  of  the  latter  is  a  vision  of  people  both  using  their  property  and 
pledging  it  at  the  same  time  ;  (4)  while  some  go  so  far  as  to  dream  of 
symbolical  money  of  indefinite  value.  Thus  we  have  Mr.  Alfred  B. 
^estrup  contributing  "  Citizens'  Money"  and  "  The  Finangial  Problem, 

228  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

both  of  which  tacitly  attempt  to  expound  a  method  to  enable  every  one  to 
get  into  debt  and  keep  there.   (5) 

The  introduction  to  the  first-named  essay  seems  by  implication  to  assert 
that  the  price  of  gold  is  too  high,  though  no  attempt  is  made  to  show  how 
displacing  it  from  currency  would  reduce  the  price  as  long  as  its  cost  and 
utility  remain  what  they  now  are  ;  while  the  author  himself  appears  to 
think  that  money  can  be  made  very  much  more  plentiful  and  yet  maintain 
its  value,  although  he  is  contending  that  this  value  depends  upon  monop- 
oly or  scarcity.  The  last-named  essay  plainly  assumes  that  by  some  such 
scheme  poverty  can  be  abolished.  (6) 

Banking  is  not  the  only  financial  operation  in  which  government  inter- 
feres. In  the  case  of  insurance  companies,  benefit  societies,  limited  liabil- 
ity corporations,  partnerships,  trusts,  insolvencies,  and  hundreds  of  other 
ways  government  is  continually  interfering.  Most  of  this  interference  is 
well  meant.  Most,  if  not  all,  of  it  is  actually  injurious  in  itself,  apart  from 
the  waste,  the  jobbery,  and  the  imbecility  of  officialism  it  involves.  These 
concomitant  evils,  though  far  greater  than  those  directly  resulting  from 
the  interference,  had  better  for  the  time  being  be  left  out  of  sight.  Their 
treatment  belongs  to  the  general  subject  of  liberty,  and  they  only  incident- 
ally pertain  to  the  financial  interference  of  government,  as  they  do  to  all 
its  other  interference.  Ignoring  then  the  saving  in  cost,  the  immediate 
effect  of  the  total  abstention  of  government  from  its  protection  of  the  pub- 
lic from  financial  folly  and  roguery  would  be  that  a  great  crop  of  fresh 
schemes,  bargains,  and  arrangements  would  offer  themselves  to  those  de- 
sirous of  entrusting  any  of  their  wealth  to  the  management  of  others.  A 
very  large  proportion  of  these  schemes — possibly  the  majority — would  be 
unsound.  (7)  Amongst  the  unsound,  unless  its  expounders  grievously 
misrepresent  it,  would  undoubtedly  be  found  such  mutual  banking  as  is 
proposed  by  Mr.  Westrup.  He  is  altogether  on  a  wrong  tack.  His 
whole  talk  is  about  money;  but  this  term  in  his  mouth  means  indebtedness, 
trust,  credit,  paper  instruments  binding  some  one  to  deliver  something. 
Now,  credit  is  not  a  representative  of  wealth,  as  Mr.  Westrup  so  con- 
stantly declares.  Mr.  Westrup's  money  is  a  representative  of  a  promise 
or  debt.  It  may  in  many  cases,  as  a  matter  of  history,  show  that  A  has 
entrusted  certain  wealth  to  B  ;  but  it  does  not  guarantee  that  B  has  pre- 
served it,  and  still  less  does  it  assure  the  holder  that  B  can  at  call  deliver  or 
replace  the  borrowed  articles,  or  any  equal  number  of  similar  articles,  or 
an  equivalent  value  in  some  other  articles.  (8)  As  Mr.  Donisthorpe  insists 
in  his  "  Principles  of  Plutology  "  (p.  136);  "  There  is  [at  each  moment] 
a  certain  amount  of  every  valuable  commodity  in  existence,  neither  more 
nor  less  ;  nor  can  it  be  increased  by  a  single  atom  though  the  whole  pop- 
ulation suddenly,  as  if  by  inspiration,  began  craving  and  yearning  for  it." 
(9)  Again,  what  is  there  to  show  that  any  necessity  exists,  as  Mr.  West- 
rup asserts,  for  enabling  all  wealth  to  be  represented  by  money  ?  If  I  give  a 
man  a  loaf  for  sweeping  my  door-step,  the  loaf  does  not  represent  the 
work,  nor  does  the  work  represent  the  loaf.  All  we  know  is  that  I  desire 
the  sweeping  more  than  I  desire  the  loaf,  and  the  laborer  desires  the  loaf 
more  than  his  ease  or  idleness.  If  I  give  a  guinea  for  a  hat,  this  guinea 
does  not  represent  the  particular  hat  or  any  hat.  It  does  not  represent  it 
while  in  my  possession  before  the  exchange,  nor  in  the  hatter's  possession 
after  the  exchange.  Gold  is  valuable  ;  it  does  not  merely  represent  value. 
The  value  represents  an  estimate  of  the  comparative  labor  necessary  to 
produce  the  last  increment  needful  to  replenish  the  stock  of  gold  at  a  rate 
equivalent  to  its  consumption, — this  consumption  depending  upon  the 
comparative  utility  of  gold  in  relation  to  jts  owq  value  and  that  of  other 


commodities.  Or  at  a  given  hat-shop  it  represents  an  estimate  of  the  cost 
of  bringing  as  much  more  gold  to  the  place  as  equivalent  to  the  cost  of 
bringing  another  hat  to  the  shop.   (10) 

Mr.  Westrup's  fallacious  analysis  of  commerce  dogs  his  steps  in  every 
process  of  his  reasoning.  The  gravest  evils  of  the  interference  of  govern- 
ment in  monetary  matters  are  little  more  than  its  cost  and  the  deadening 
influence  of  fancied  protection.  The  reform  which  monetary  liberty  would 
secure  would  not  include  any  redistribution  of  the  products  of  labor.  This 
depends  partly  upon  the  possibility  of  the  laborer  possessing  the  skill  of  a 
speculator  and  of  a  producer  and  exercising  both  at  the  same  time,  and 
partly  upon  the  enormously  disproportionate  share  of  taxation  which  he 
has  to  bear.  These  and  many  other  evils,  in  so  far  as  they  are  increased 
by  government,  depend  not  upon  arbitrary  money,  but  upon  the  arbitrary 
alienation  of  the  substance  of  the  citizen.  It  is  a  most  trivial  incident  that 
the  plunder  is  nominally  priced  in  and  redeemed  by  one  commodity.  The 
evil  is  that  it  should  be  taken.  The  forna  makes  but  an  infinitesimal  dif- 

Mr.  Westrup  would  do  well  to  ask  himself  these  questions,  and,  in  an- 
swering them,  to  assign  the  grounds  upon  which  he  proceeds  in  arriving 
at  the  conclusions.  (11) 

1.  Would  the  value  of  gold  be  (a)  increased  (i)  reduced  by  mutual  bank- 
ing ?     And  what  percentage  ? 

2.  Is  gold  the  only  commodity  produced  and  bought  by  people  who 
don't  want  to  consume  it? 

3.  Would  gold  lose  its  pre-eminence  as  the  commodity  the  value  of  which 
is  most  correctly  estimated,  and  which  it  is  therefore  safest  to  buy  at  market 
value  when  disposing  of  our  own  or  our  purchased  produce  ? 

4.  What  has  the  rate  of  interest  to  do  with  the  net  or  residual  increment 
of  wealth  remaining  as  a  surplus  after  maintaining  the  population  ?  Is 
this  less  in  the  United  Kingdom  where  interest  is  low  than  in  the  United 
States  where  interest  is  high  ? 

5.  How  could  legislation  maintain  the  value  of  gold  if  it  became  as 
abundant  as  copper  ?  Would  the  volume  of  money  then  be  greater  than 
now  ?  Would  the  rate  of  interest  be  affected  by  this  alteration  apart  from 
the  changes  due  to  the  act  of  transition  from  the  present  state  of  dear  gold 
to  the  supposed  state  of  cheap  gold  ? 

6.  How  is  the  voluntary  custom  of  selling  preferentially  for  gold 
a  monopoly  ?  Are  cattle  a  monopoly  where  used  as  a  medium  of  ex- 
change ? 

7.  What  analogy  is  there  between  a  law  to  require  the  exclusive  con- 
sumption of  hand-made  bricks  and  any  laws  specifying  that  the  word 
Dollar  in  a  bond  shall  imply  a  certain  quantity  of  gold  ?  Does  any  govern- 
ment force  anyone  to  consume  gold  in  preference  to  any  other  com- 
modity? Does  government  consume  gold  in  constructing  its  offices  and 
defences,  or  does  it  merely  swap  it  off  for  other  commodities  ?  Is  all  silver 
or  gold  in  the  United  States  delivered  to  government  as  fast  as  made, 
or  does  government  purchase  it  in  the  open  market  ? 

Yours,  etc., 

J.  Greevz  Fisher. 
78  Harrogate  Road,  Leeds,  England. 

Pending  the  arrival  of  any  answer  Mr.  Westrup  may  desire 
to  make  to  the  foregoing  criticisms  upon  his  pamphlets,  for 
>yhich  purpose  the  cplumns  of  Liberty  are  open  to  him,  I  take 

230  INSTEAD    OF   A    BOOK. 

the  liberty  of  offering  some  comments  as  well  as  answers  to  Mr. 
Fisher's  questions. 

(i)  I  know  of  no  friend  of  liberty  who  regards  it  as  a 
panacea  for  every  ill,  or  claims  that  it  will  make  fools  success- 
ful, or  believes  that  it  will  make  all  men  equal,  rich,  and 
perfectly  happy.  The  Anarchists,  it  is  true,  believe  that  under 
liberty  the  laborer's  wages  will  buy  back  his  product,  and  that 
this  will  make  men  more  nearly  equal,  will  insure  the  indus- 
trious and  the  prudent  against  poverty,  and  will  add  to  human 
happiness.  But  between  the  fictitious  claims  which  Mr. 
Fisher  scouts  and  the  real  claims  which  the  Anarchists  assert 
it  is  easy  to  see  the  vast  difference. 

(2)  I  do  not  understand  how  "the  unvarying  failure  of 
unsound  currency  enactments "  makes  the  interference  of 
government  with  finance  seem  less  pernicious.  In  fact,  it 
drives  me  to  precisely  the  opposite  conclusion.  In  the  phrase, 
"  concomitant  dwindling  of  monetary  law  into  a  mere  specifi- 
cation of  truisms,"  Mr.  Fisher  repeats  his  attempt,  of  which  I 
complained  in  the  last  issue  of  Liberty,  to  belittle  the  restric- 
tions placed  upon  the  issue  of  paper  money.  When  he  has 
answered  the  question  which  I  have  asked  him  regarding  the 
English  banking  laws,  we  can  discuss  the  matter  more  intelli- 
gently. Meanwhile  it  is  futile  to  try  to  make  a  monopoly  seem 
less  than  a  monopoly  by  resorting  to  such  a  circumlocution  as 
"  system  of  licensing  individuals  to  carry  on  certain  kinds  of 
trades,"  or  to  claim  that  the  monopoly  of  a  tool  not  only 
common  but  indispensable  to  all  trades  is  not  more  injurious 
than  the  monopoly  of  a  tool  used  by  only  one  trade  or  a  few 

(3)  It  is  true  that  if  the  mass  of  capital  competing  for 
investment  were  increased,  the  rate  of  interest  would  fall.  But 
it  is  not  true  that  scarcity  of  capital  is  the  only  factor  that 
keeps  up  the  rate  of  interest  ?  If  I  were  free  to  use  my  capital 
directly  as  a  basis  of  credit  or  currency,  the  relief  from  the 
necessity  of  borrowing  additional  capital  from  others  would 
decrease  the  borrowing  demand,  and  therefore  the  rate  of 
interest.  And  if,  as  the  Anarchists  claim,  this  freedom  to  use 
capital  as  a  basis  of  credit  should  give  an  immense  impetus  to 
business,  and  consequently  cause  an  immense  demand  for 
labor,  and  consequently  increase  productive  power,  and'con- 
sequently  augment  the  amount  of  capital,  here  another  force 
would  be  exercised  to  lower  the  rate  of  interest  and  cause  it  to 
gradually  vanish.  Free  trade  in  banking  does  not  mean  only 
unlimited  liberty  to  create  debt;  it  means  also  vastly  increased 
9,bility  to  meet   debt:  and,  so    accompanied,    the    liberty   tQ 

MONEY    AND    INTEREST.  23 1 

create  debt  is  one  of  the  greatest  blessings.  It  is  not  erroneous 
to  label  evidence  of  debt  as  money.  As  Col.  Wm.  B.  Greene  well 
said:  "That  is  money  which  does  the  work  of  the  tool  money." 
When  evidence  of  debt  circulates  as  a  medium  of  exchange,  to 
all  intents  and  purposes  it  is  money.  But  this  is  of  small  con- 
sequence. The  Anarchists  do  not  insist  on  the  word  "  money." 
Suppose  we  call  such  evidence  of  debt  currency  (and  surely  it 
is  currency),  what  then  ?  How  does  this  change  of  name 
affect  the  conclusions  of  the  "  currency-faddists  "  ?  Not  in 
the  least,  as  far  as  I  can  see.  By  the  way,  it  is  not  becoming 
in  a  man  who  has,  not  simply  one  bee  in  his  bonnet,  but  a 
whole  swarm  of  them,  to  talk  flippantly  of  the  "fads  "  of  men 
whose  lives  afford  unquestionable  evidence  of  their  earnest- 

(4)  Mr.  Fisher  seems  to  think  it  inherently  impossible  to  use 
one's  property  and  at  the  same  time  pledge  it.  But  what  else 
happens  when  a  man,  after  mortgaging  his  house,  continues  to 
live  in  it  ?  This  is  an  actual  every-day  occurrence,  and  mutual 
banking  only  seeks  to  make  it  possible  on  easier  terms, — the 
terms  that  will  prevail  under  competition  instead  of  the  terms 
that  do  prevail  under  monopoly.  The  man  who  calls  this 
reality  an  ignis  fatuus  must  be  either  impudent  or  ignorant. 
Unfortunately  it  is  true  that  some  believers  in  mutual  banking 
do  "  dream  of  symbolical  money  of  indefinite  value,"  but 
none  of  the  standard  expositions  of  the  subject  offer  any  such 
fallacy  ;,and  it  is  with  these  that  Mr.  Fisher  must  deal  if  he 
desires  to  overthrow  the  mutual  banking  idea. 

(5)  Mr.  Westrup's  method,  if  I  understand  it,  would  not 
"  enable  every  one  to  get  into  debt  and  keep  there,"  but  rather 
to  get  into  debt  and  out  again,  greatly  to  the  advantage  of  the 
borrower  and  of  society  generally.  Mr.  Westrup  does  not 
contemplate  the  issue  of  bank-notes  against  individual  notes 
that  never  mature. 

(6)  Mr.  Fisher,  in  his  remark  that  "  no  attempt  is  made  to 
show  how  displacing  gold  from  currency  would  reduce  the 
price  as  long  as  its  cost  and  utility  remain  what  they  now  are," 
is  no  less  absurd  than  he  would  be  if  he  were  to  say  that  no 
attempt  is  made  to  show  how  displacing  flour  as  an  ingredient 
of  bread  would  reduce  the  price  of  flour  as  long  as  its  cost  and 
utility  remain  what  they  now  are.  The  utility  of  flour  con- 
sists in  the  fact  that  it  is  an  ingredient  of  bread,  and  the  main 
utility  of  gold  consists  in  the  fact  that  it  is  used  as  currency. 
To  talk  of  displacing  these  utilities  and  at  the  same  time  keep- 
ing them  what  they  now  are  is  a  contradiction  in  terms,  of 
which  Mr.  Fisher  is  guilty.     But  Mr.  Westrup  is  guilty  of  nq 

232  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

contradiction  at  all  in  claiming  that  money  can  be  made  very 
much  more  plentiful  and  yet  maintain  its  value  at  the  same 
time  that  he  contends  that  the  present  value  of  money  is  due 
to  its  monopoly  or  scarcity.  For  to  quote  Colonel  Greene 

All  money  is  not  the  same  money.  There  is  one  money  of  gold, 
another  of  brass,  another  of  leather,  and  another  of  paper  ;  and  there  is 
a  difference  in  the  glory  of  these  different  kinds  of  money.  There  is  one 
money  that  is  a  commodity,  having  its  exchangeable  value  determined  by 
the  law  of  supply  and  demand,  which  money  may  be  called  (though  some- 
what barbarously)  merchandise-money ;  as,  for  instance,  gold,  silver,  brass, 
bank-bills,  etc.:  there  is  another  money,  which  is  not  a  commodity, 
whose  exchangeable  value  is  altogether  independent  of  the  law  of  supply 
and  demand,  and  which  may  be  called  mutual  money.  ...  If  ordinary 
bank-bills  represented  specie  actually  existing  in  the  vaults  of  the  bank, 
no  mere  issue  or  withdrawal  of  them  could  effect  a  fall  or  rise  in  the  value 
of  money:  for  every  issue  of  a  dollar-bill  would  correspond  to  the  lock- 
ing-up  of  a  specie  dollar  in  the  banks'  vaults  ;  and  every  cancelling  of  a 
dollar-bill  would  correspond  to  the  issue  by  the  banks  of  a  specie  dollar. 
It  is  by  the  exercise  of  banking  privileges — that  is,  by  the  issue  of  bills 
purporting  to  be,  but  which  are  not,  convertible — that  the  banks  effect  a 
depreciation  in  the  price  of  the  silver  dollar.  It  is  this  fiction  (by  which 
legal  value  is  assimilated  to,  and  becomes,  to  all  business  intents  and 
purposes,  actual  value)  that  enables  bank-notes  to  depreciate  the  silver 
dollar.  Substitute  verity  in  the  place  of  fiction,  either  by  permitting  the 
banks  to  issue  no  more  paper  than  they  have  specie  in  their  vaults,  or  by 
effecting  an  entire  divorce  between  bank-paper  and  its  pretended  specie 
basis,  and  the  power  of  paper  to  depreciate  specie  is  at  an  end.  So  long 
as  the  fiction  is  kept  up,  the  silver  dollar  is  depreciated,  and  tends  to 
emigrate  for  the  purpose  of  travelling  In  foreign  parts  ;  but,  the  moment 
the  fiction  is  destroyed,  the  power  of  paper  over  metal  ceases.  By  its 
intrinsic  nature  specie  Is  merchandise,  having  its  value  determined,  as 
such,  by  supply  and  demand  ;  but,  on  the  contrary,  paper  money  is,  by 
its  intrinsic  nature,  «o^  merchandise,  but  the  means  whereby  merchandise 
is  exchanged,  and,  as  such,  ought  always  to  be  commensurate  in  quantity 
with  the  amount  of  merchandise  to  be  exchanged,  be  that  amount  great 
or  small.     Mutual  money  is  measured  by  specie,  but  is  in  no  way 


This  is  one  of  the  most  important  truths  in  finance,  and 
perfectly  accounts  for  Mr.  Westrup's  position.  When  he  says 
that  money  can  be  made  very  much  more  plentiful  and  yet 
maintain  its  value,  he  is  speaking  of  mutual  money;  when  he 
says  that  the  present  value  of  money  depends  upon  monopoly 
or  scarcity,  he  is  speaking  of  merchandise  money. 

(7)  As  sensibly  might  one  say  to  Mr.  Fisher,  who  is  a  stanch 
opponent  of  government  postal  service,  that  "  the  immediate 
effect  of  the  total  abstention  of  government  from  its  protec- 
tion of  the  public  from  the  roguery  of  private  mail-carriers 


would  be  that  a  great  crop  of  fresh  schemes  would  offer  them- 
selves to  those  desirous  of  intrusting  any  of  their  letters  to 
others  to  carry.  A  very  large  proportion  of  these  schemes — 
possibly  the  majority — would  be  unsound."  Well,  what  of  it  ? 
Are  we  on  this  account  to  give  up  freedom  ?  No,  says  Mr. 
Fisher.     But,  then,  what  is  the  force  of  the  consideration  ? 

(8)  Mr.  Westrup's  money  not  only  shows  that  A  has  given 
B  a  conditional  title  to  certain  wealth,  but  guarantees  that  this 
wealth  has  been  preserved.  That  is,  it  affords  a  guarantee  so 
nearly  perfect  that  it  is  acceptable.  If  you  take  a  mortgage 
on  a  house  and  the  owner  insures  it  in  your  favor,  the  guaran- 
tee against  loss  by  fire  is  not  perfect,  since  the  insurance  com- 
pany may  fail,  but  it  is  good  enough  for  practical  purposes. 
Similarly,  if  B,  the  bank,  advances  money  to  A  against  a  mort- 
gage on  the  latter's  stock  of  goods,  it  is  within  the  bounds  of 
possibility  that  A  will  sell  the  goods  and  disappear  forever,  but 
he  will  thus  run  the  risk  of  severe  penalties;  and  these  penal- 
ties, coupled  with  B's  caution,  make  a  guarantee  that  prac- 
tically serves.  To  be  sure,  Mr.  Westrup's  money  does  not 
assure  the  holder  that  the  bank  will  deliver  the  borrowed  arti- 
cles on  demand,  but  it  does  assure  him  that  he  can  get  similar 
articles  or  their  equivalents  on  demand  from  any  customers  of 
the  bank  that  have  them  for  sale,  because  all  these  customers 
are  pledged  to  take  the  bank's  notes;  to  say  nothing  of  the  fact 
that  the  bank,  though  not  bound  to  redeem  on  demand,  is 
bound  to  redeem  as  fast  as  the  mortgage  notes  mature. 

(9)  I  perceive  the  perfect  truth  of  Mr.  Donisthorpe's  re- 
mark, but  I  do  not  perceive  its  pertinence  to  the  matter  under 

(10)  Nor  do  I  detect  the  bearing  of  the  truisms  which  Mr. 
Fisher  enunciates  so  solemnly.  They  certainly  do  not  estab- 
lish the  absence  of  any  necessity  for  enabling  all  wealth  to  be 
represented  by  money.  This  necessity  is  shown  by  the  fact 
that,  when  the  monetary  privilege  is  conferred  upon  one  form 
of  wealth  exclusively,  the  people  have  to  obtain  this  form  of 
wealth  at  rates  that  sooner  or  later  send  them  into  bank- 

(11)  I  conclude  by  answering  Mr.  Fisher's  questions. 

The  value  of  gold  would  be  reduced  by  mutual  banking, 
because  it  would  thereby  be  stripped  of  that  exclusive  mone- 
tary utility  conferred  upon  it  by  the  State.  The  percentage  of 
this  reduction  no  one  can  tell  in  advance,  any  more  than  he 
can  tell  how  much  whiskey  would  fall  in  price  if  there  were 
unrestricted  competition  in  the  sale  of  it. 

Neither  gold  nor  any  other  commodity  is  bought  by  people 

234  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

who  don't  want  to  consume  it  or  in  some  way  cause  others  to 
consume  it.  Gold  is  in  process  of  consumption  when  it  is  in 
use  as  currency. 

Mutual  banking  might  or  might  not  cause  gold  to  lose  its 
pre-eminence  as  the  most  thoroughly  constituted  value.  If  it 
should  do  so,  then  some  other  commodity  more  constantly  de- 
manded and  uniformly  supplied  would  take  the  place  of  gold 
as  a  standard  of  value.  It  certainly  is  unscientific  to  impart  a 
factitious,  monopoly  value  to  a  commodity  in  order  to  make 
its  value  steady. 

Other  things  being  equal,  the  rate  of  interest  is  inversely 
proportional  to  the  residual  increment  of  wealth,  for  the  reason 
that  a  low  rate  of  interest  (except  when  offered  to  an  already 
bankrupted  people)  makes  business  active,  causes  a  more  uni- 
versal employment  of  labor,  and  thereby  adds  to  productive 
capacity.  The  residual  increment  is  less  in  the  United  King- 
dom, where  interest  is  low,  than  in  the  United  States,  where 
interest  is  high,  because  other  things  are  not  equal.  But  in 
either  country  this  increment  would  be  greater  than  it  now  is 
if  the  rate  of  interest  were  to  fall. 

If  gold  became  as  abundant  as  copper,  legislation,  if  it  chose, 
could  maintain  its  value  by  decreeing  that  we  should  drink 
only  from  gold  goblets.  If  the  value  were  maintained,  the  vol- 
ume of  money  would  be  greater  on  account  of  the  abundance  of 
gold.     This  increase  of  volume  would  lower  the  rate  of  interest. 

A  voluntary  custom  of  selling  preferentially  for  gold  would 
not  be  a  monopoly,  but  there  is  no  such  voluntary  custom. 
Where  cattle  are  used  voluntarily  as  a  medium  of  exchange, 
they  are  not  a  monopoly  ;  but  where  there  is  a  law  that  only 
cattle  shall  be  so  used,  they  are  a  monopoly. 

It  is  not  incumbent  on  Anarchists  to  show  an  analogy  be- 
tween a  law  to  require  the  exclusive  consumption  of  hand- 
made bricks  and  any  law  specifying  that  the  word  Dollar  in  a 
bond  shall  imply  a  certain  quantity  of  gold.  But  they  are 
bound  and  ready  to  show  an  analogy  between  the  first-named 
law  and  any  laws  prohibiting  or  taxing  the  issue  of  notes,  of 
whatever  description,  intended  for  circulation  as  currency. 
Governments  force  people  to  consume  gold,  in  the  sense  that 
they  give  people  no  alternative  but  that  of  abandoning  the  use 
of  money.  When  government  swaps  off  gold  for  other  com- 
modities, it  thereby  consumes  it  in  the  economic  sense.  The 
United  States  government  purchases  its  gold  and  silver.  It 
can  hardly  be  said,  however,  that  it  purchases  silver  in  an  open 
market,  because,  being  obliged  by  law  to  buy  so  many  millions 
each  month,  it  thereby  creates  an  artificial  market. 

MoNEV  AND  Interest.  235 


[Lz'derf^j  August  15,  i8gi.] 

7*1?  tie  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

There  is  not  the  slightest  analogy  between  allowing  theatres  to  be 
consumed  on  Sundays  and  allowing  silver  or  iron  to  be  sold  on  the  same 
terms  as  gold.  Currency  is  only  buying  and  selling;  it  is  not  consum- 
ing. The  customary  adoption  of  gold  as  currency  and  the  endorsement 
of  this  custom  by  edict  involves  only  a  very  insignificant  increase  in  its 
consumption.  Most  other  commodities  waste  much  more  than  gold  in 
the  processes  of  stocking,  marketing,  and  distributing  from  points  of 
production  to  points  of  consumption.  An  admission  that  if  government 
allowed  an  increase  in  the  consumption  of  theatres  it  would  raise  the 
price,  in  no  way  affects  any  known  proposal  or  enactment  in  regard  to 
gold  as  currency,  because  currency  laws  have  so  Utile  effect  upon  the 
consumption  of  gold.  There  are  laws  which  possibly  affect  the  value  of 
the  precious  metals.  There  are  such  as  prohibit  mixing  them  freely 
in  all  proportions,  producing  utensils  or  other  articles  of  consumption. 
Thus,  if  the  removal  of  the  present  restrictions  should  lead  to  a  larger 
consumption  of  silver  in  culinary  articles,  this  would  slightly  raise  the 
price  of  silver. 

But  what  is  the  use  of  pursuing  a  false  analogy?  If  government  simply 
facilitated  the  sale  of  theatres,  how  would  that  affect  their  price  in  the 
market?  A  comparison  of  the  effects  of  facilitating  consumption  does 
not  illustrate  the  effects  of  facilitating  exchanges.  It  is  in  the  power 
of  government  to  alter  the  values  of  the  precious  metals  enormously 
within  the  areas  of  their  dominion  by  prohibiting  their  importation  or 
exportation  or  by  duties  or  bounties.  It  will  be  time  enough  to  discuss 
these  matters  when  they  are  proposed.  They  are  not  analogous  to  the 
attempts  to  fix  the  value  of  silver  by  the  schemes  of  the  bi-metallists, 
and  they  have  still  less  analogy  to  the  statutes  which  are  supposed  to 
determine  the  value  of  gold,  but  which,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  do  nothing  of 
the  sort.  To  state  that  one-fourth  ounce  of  gold  shall  exchange  for  one- 
fourth  ounce  of  gold  is  simply  to  cumber  the  statute  book  with  a 
"chestnut."  No  government  ever  does  stipulate  "that  all  money  shall 
be  made  of  or  issued  against  gold  or  silver,"  and  it  is  in  supposing 
that  it  does  so  that  some  of  our  comrades  get  wrong.  What  is  called 
money  in  the  above  sentence  means  a  bond  or  promise  to  deliver  coin. 
There  is  nothing  to  prevent  any  one  from  issuing  bonds  or  promises  to 
deliver  something  else,  such  as  petroleum,  pig-iron,  wheat,  lard,  and  so 
on.  If  you  promise  delivery  of  petroleum  on  demand  or  at  a  date  named, 
you  only  discharge  your  bond  by  legally  tendering  the  petroleum  as 
specified.  The  law  of  England  allows  this.  To  prevent  it  would  dis- 
organize all  trade.  W'hat  is  prohibited  is  the  production  and  issue  of 
notes  in  one  particular  form, — namely,  promises  to  pay  gold  to  bearer 
on  demand.  It  is  a  most  vicious  equivoque  to  call  such  instruments 
money,  and  to  exclude  checks,  drafts,  bills,  notes,  whether  drawn  for 
gold,  silver,  iron,  lard,  or  even  labor. 

Space  prohibits  (even  when  a  condensed  statement,  which  will  be  mis- 
named dogmatism,  is  employed)  showing  that  even  under  our  truck  laws 
no  one  is  prohibited  from  using  or  taking  as  a  payment,  flour,  bread, 
meat,  calico,  boots,  and  so  on.  

536  INSTEAD  OF  A   BOOK. 

The  analogy  as  to  an  enactment  that  all  plates  should  be  made  of  tin  is 
equally  misleading  and  unsound.  Government  does  not  enact  that  all 
marketable  articles  shall  be  made  of  gold,  or  that  all  articles  capable  of 
being  sold  for  future  delivery  shall  be  made  of  gold.  There  is  no  benefit 
to  this  argument  in  confounding  acts  which  would  seriously  affect  con- 
sumption with  acts  which  have  little  or  no  such  effect.  The  gold  em- 
bodied in  coins  is  marketable  stock;  it  is  not  in  consumption,  as  the  tin 
would  be  if  it  had  a  monopoly  in  plate  production.  We  want  plates  to 
use;  we  carry  coin  always  to  sell.  It  is  not  withdrawn  from  the  market  so 
as  to  raise  its  price,  but  is  constantly  brought  afresh  to  market  so  as 
equally  to  lower  it.  Besides  this,  the  illustration  assumes  and  implies 
that  for  gold  there  is  no  other  use  of  great  significance  but  coin-making. 
If  this  were  so,  then  the  Westrups,  the  Tarns,  and  the  Tuckers  would 
have  the  argument  all  on  their  own  side.  The  fact  is,  however,  that  the 
gold  mines  are  not  kept  open  to  supply  coin,  but  to  supply  the  arts. 

There  is  yet  another  fallacy  in  our  comrades'  position.  It  would  be  no 
monetary  disadvantage  if  the  facts  really  were  as  they  suppose.  If  gold 
were  twice  as  dear,  or  twice  as  cheap,  its  merchants  would  make  just  the 
same  profit,  bankers  and  financiers  would  not  lose  or  gain — neither  would 
anybody  except  the  producers  and  consumers  of  gold.  Grocers'  profits  are 
not  affected  by  the  price  of  sugar,  but  the  growers  and  users  are  both 
vitally  concerned. 

There  would  seem  to  be  nothing  whatever  in  English  law  to  prevent 
the  establishment  of  a  bank  without  any  specie  issuing  inconvertible  paper, 
which  the  customers  mutually  agree  to  accept  at  par  value,  but  there  is 
little  likelihood  such  a  scheme  would  be  workable.  It  would  tax  the 
powers  of  a  very  clever  master  of  legal  or  Anarchical  phraseology  to  spec- 
ify upon  the  notes  the  responsibility  of  each  customer  and  to  preserve  the 
power  of  these  customers  fulfilling  their  agreements.  Before  one  could 
vise  such  notes  to  buy  a  breakfast  or  a  railway  ticket  there  would  have  to 
be  a  rather  involved  and  tedious  disquisition  upon  economics.  No  An- 
archist would  propose  to  embody  such  arrangements  in  a  statute  like  our 
limited  liability  laws.  Such  notes  would  therefore  be  simply  of  the  nature 
of  mortgage  bonds,  for  which  there  would  possibly  be  a  market  and  a 
price.     The  price  would  probably  be  below  rather  than  above  par. 

Free  trade  in  gold  and  in  credit  is  desirable.  Its  desirability  is  propor- 
tionate to  the  restrictions  which  exist,  but  these  are  not  very  great  or 
grievous.  The  field  for  their  discussion  opens  only  when  our  comrades' 
present  mists  have  rolled  away.  But  they  bear  no  comparison  with  acts 
for  the  purchase  by  government  of  great  quantities  of  silver,  acts  for 
repairing  worn  gold  coin  at  public  expense,  and,  above  all,  acts  for  tariffs 
designed  to  hamper  trade  and  acts  for  raising  public  revenue  in  general. 

Let  our  comrades  in  Liberty,  Egoism,  and  The  Herald  of  Anarchy  rise 
tp  more  vital  matters  when  they  touch  upon  the  economics  of  coercion. 
The  evils  of  coinage  are  greatly  overstated,  and  to  them  are  attributed 
effects  with  which  they  have  no  connection.  J.  Greevz  Fisher. 

78  Harrogate  Road,  Leeds,  England. 

Mr.  Fisher's  article,  printed  above,  is  nothing  but  a  string 
of  assei-tions,  most  of  which,  as  matters  of  fact,  are  untrue. 
The  chief  of  these  untruths  is  the  statement  that  in  exchang- 
ing gold  we  do  not  consume  it.  What  is  consumption  ?  It  is 
the  act  of  destroying  by  use  or  waste.  One  of  the  uses  of 
gold — and  under  the  existing  financial  system  its  chief  use — is 

kONEY    ANC    INTEREST.  ^37 

to  act  as  a  medium  of  exchange,  or  else  as  the  basis  of  such  a 
medium.  In  performing  this  function  it  wears  out ;  in  other 
words,  it  is  consumed.  Being  given  a  monopoly  of  this  use  or 
function,  it  has  an  artificial  value, — a  value  which  it  would 
not  have  if  other  articles,  normally  capable  of  this  function, 
were  not  forbidden  to  compete  with  it.  And  these  articles 
suffer  from  this  restriction  of  competition  in  very  much  the 
same  way  that  a  theatre  forbidden  to  give  Sunday  perform- 
ances suffers  if  its  rival  is  allowed  the  privilege.  Mr.  Fisher 
may  deny  the  analogy  as  stoutly  as  he  chooses  ;  it  is  none  the 
less  established.  This  analogy  established,  Mr.  Fisher's  position 
falls, — falls  as  surely  as  his  other  position  has  fallen  :  the 
position  that  government  cannot  affect  values,  which  he  at 
first  laid  down  with  as  much  contemptuous  assurance  as  if  no 
one  could  deny  it  without  thereby  proving  himself  a  born  fool. 
So  there  is  no  need  to  refute  the  rest  of  the  assertions.  I  will 
simply  enter  a  specific  denial  of  some  of  them.  It  is  untrue 
that  gold  is  not  withdrawn  from  the  market  to  raise  its  price. 
It  is  untrue  that  the  gold  mines  are  kept  open  principally  to 
supply  the  arts.  It  is  untrue  that,  if  gold  were  twice  as  dear 
or  twice  as  cheap,  bankers  would  not  lose  or  gain  ;  the  chief 
business  of  the  banker  is  not  to  buy  and  sell  gold,  but  to  lend 
it.  And  I  believe  it  to  be  untrue — though  here  I  do  not 
speak  of  what  I  positively  know — that  English  law  permits 
the  establishment  of  such  banks  as  Proudhon,  Greene,  and 
Spooner  proposed.  Mr.  Fisher  certainly  should  know  more 
about  this  than  I,  but  I  doubt  his  statement,  first,  because 
I  have  found  him  in  error  so  often  ;  second,  because  nine  out 
of  ten  Massachusetts  lawyers  will  tell  you  with  supreme  con- 
fidence that  there  is  no  law  in  Massachusetts  prohibiting  the 
use  of  notes  and  checks  as  currency  (yet  there  is  one  of  many 
years'  standing,  framed  in  plain  terms,  and  often  have  I 
astonished  lawyers  of  learning  and  ability  by  showing  it  to 
them)  ;  and,  third,  because  I  am  sure  that,  if  such  banks  were 
legal  in  England,  they  would  have  been  started  long  ago. 


\L{beriy^  August  22,  iSgi.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

One  does  not  lay  oneself  open  to  a  charge  of  disloyalty  to  the  principles 
of  liberty  by  guarding  against  extravagant  hopes.  It  seeras  necessary  to 
keep  this  in  mind  before  saying  a  word  against  any  anticipations  formed 


INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

by  ardent  and  able  advocates  of  liberty  like  yourself.  It  is  a  hyperbole 
(possibly  open  to  misconstruction)  to  imply  that  some  advocates  of  liberty 
regard  it  as  a  panacea  for  every  ill.  It  therefore  is  a  great  advantage 
when  its  expected  benefits  are  clearly  defined  as  in  your  issue  of  the  nth. 
You  believe  that  under  liberty  the  laborer's  wages  will  buy  back  his  prod- 
uct. This  is  fortunately  a  definite  issue.  It  implies  that  if  there  be  a 
naked  producer  or  a  commodity  the  complete  production  of  which,  in- 
cluding all  the  outlay  needful  for  its  delivery  to  the  consumer  at  the  very 
moment  when  he  needs  to  consume  it,  occupies  time  and  demands  the 
empolyment  of  wealth  in  material,  sustenance  of  producer,  and  tools,  of 
none  of  which  this  producer  is  possessed,  this  pauper  producer  shall  retain 
the  full  value  of  his  product  notwithstanding  his  partial  dependence  upon 
some  one  who  provides  the  necessaries  for  his  production  in  anticipation 
of  his  fruition.  Is  not  this  a  fair  and  correct  interpretation  of  your  phrase? 
and  supposing  it  to  be  so,  does  it  not  show  that  you  expect  too  much?(i) 

The  facilitation  of  credit  and  the  so-called  circulation  of  debts  as  a  sub- 
stitute for  currency,  together  with  all  schemes  for  mutual  banking  or 
schemes  for  the  more  rapid  development  of  commerce,  imply  that  valu- 
ables shall  be  temporarily  placed  at  the  disposal  of  others  than  their  own- 
ers who  meanwhile  sustain  a  privation  and  also  take  a  serious  risk,  but 
that  these  owners  shall  obtain  no  recompense  beyond  the  bare  return  of 
their  valuables  unimpaired.  (2)  If  a  complex  and  therefore  intricate 
scheme  or  calculation  results  in  producing  something  out  of  nothing  it 
opens  a  suspicion  that  there  is  some  concealed  flaw  in  the  train  of  thought. 
Credit  without  remuneration,  debt  without  cost,  unlimited  or  very  plen- 
tiful money  without  depreciation,  are  the  desired  and  hoped  results  of  the 
new  schemes.  It  is  most  important  to  distinguish  between  demanding 
liberty  to  try  these  schemes,  and  pledging  liberty  to  their  success.  Un- 
fortunately it  does  not  appear  to  be  sufficient  to  call  attention  to  this  dis- 
tinction. Ardent  friends  will  often  unite  the  cause  of  the  fad  with  that  of 
the  principle  unless  the  fad  itself  be  destroyed.  There  are  faddists  who 
avoid  this  pitfall.  (3)  Thus  there  are  some  who  advocate  a  reform  of 
spelling,  but  as  advocates  of  freedom  decline  to  make  even  that  hoped 
success  of  reformed  spelling,  or  its  hoped  rapid  progress  under  a  free  sys- 
tem of  education,  a  plea  or  prop  for  arguments  to  emancipate  teaching 
from  government  restriction,  or  for  enforced  alienation  of  citizens'  prop- 
erty for  its  support.  Teaching  ought  to  be  free  not  because  it  is  argued 
that  spelling  would  be  reformed  and  the  reform  would  be  good,  but  simply 
that  the  reform  may  get  a  chance  and  if  good  may  succeed.  So  govern- 
ment restriction  on  banking  and  credit  ought  not  to  be  repealed  because 
Westrup's  or  Greene's  finance  would  prevail  and  bless  the  people,  but  so 
that  this  and  any  other  device  may  be  tested  and  if  good  succeed.  (4) 

As  against  the  scheme  itself  the  contention  is  that  wealth  originates 
solely  in  production,  and  that  with  plentiful  production  the  wealth  of  the 
poor  will  increase  even  though  the  Wealth  of  some  rich  people  is  vastly, 
and,  as  it  is  thought,  inordinately  increased.  But  this  banking  scheme 
does  not  add  to  production.  (5)  It  is  but  a  scheme  for  destroying  one 
source  of  income  of  the  rich  or  appropriating  it  to  the  poorer  producer. 
Without  any  attempt  at  deduction  experience  dictates  the  induction  that 
the  chances  are  in  favor  of  the  man  with  a  special  faculty  for  successful 
financial  operations  rather  than  of  students  of  principles.  The  man  who 
can  actually  value  a  horse,  a  house,  a  crop  of  wheat,  is  more  useful  in  pur- 
suing his  function  as  a  speculator  than  a  student  who  can  ably  analyze 
the  components  of  value  by  prolonged  and  tardy  research.  The  trader 
helps  society  most  and  at  greater  risk,  so  those  of  them  who  succeed  have 

MONeV  and  iNtfillESl'.  230 

the  greater  gain,  and  it  is  probably  cheaper  to  society  to  pay  this  figure 
for  the  organization  of  commerce  than  dabble  in  amateurish  schemes. 
The  experience  of  co-operation — both  its  successes  and  its  failures  seem 
to  point  in  this  direction  in  this  country.  (6) 

Government  interference  in  finance  has  broken  down  whenever  it  has 
done  serious  violence  to  sound  economical  principles.  At  present  it  does 
not  do  so.  It  needlessly  coins  some  metal.  This  is  in  England  unac- 
companied with  the  gross  error  of  buying  and  hoarding  increasing  quan- 
tities of  a  metal  whose  production  has  been  greatly  cheapened  of  late. 
Apart  from  the  silver  folly  of  your  government  the  residual  evils  of  gov- 
ernment coinage  are  infinitesimal,  and  they  are  not  commercial.  They 
are  confined  to  the  loss  arising  from  carrying  on  a  productive  or  distribu- 
tive process  by  government  under  monopoly  rather  than  by  free  indi- 
viduals in  combination  or  separately  under  the  economic  control  of  com- 
petition. Here  they  end.  It  is  pure  fancy  unsupported  as  yet  by  evi- 
dence or  true  analogy  that  they  interfere  with  the  movements  of  the 
metal,  or  materially  coerce  the  markets  into  using  an  inferior  commodity 
as  its  most  reliable  and  most  fluent  investment,  (7)  There  is  not  the 
slightest  use  for  the  purposes  of  this  argument  in  comparing  a  law  en- 
forcing the  use  of  golden  drinking-vessels  with  any  laws  connected  with 
the  use  of  gold  as  currency.  A  true  analogy  would  be  found  in  studying 
the  effect  of  monetizing  iron  by  law.  Such  a  law  would  not  demonetize 
gold  unless  it  were  much  more  tyrannical  in  its  mode  of  prescribing  iron 
as  a  legal  tender  than  our  present  law  is  in  prescribing  gold.  (8)  All  gov- 
ernment income,  borrowings,  taxes,  postage,  school  pence,  court  fees, 
all  government  outlay  in  wages,  war  material,  grants  to  localities,  pay- 
ment of  interest  upon  debt  and  all  accounts,  court  verdicts,  official  valu- 
ations, bankrupt  statements,  and  so  on,  would  be  in  terms  of  iron.  But 
I  should  be  free  to  promise  future  delivery,  or  acceptance  of  gold,  or  to 
sell  my  services  or  my  products  for  gold  as  I  now  am  to  promise  to  give 
or  take  iron  at  an  agreed  time  and  place  or  to  hire  myself  for  iron  or  for 
board  and  lodging  or  any  other  mode  of  recompense  I  can  get  any  one 
to  agree  upon.  (9)  Now  it  is  quite  likely  the  first  effect  of  this  would  be 
to  raise  the  price  of  iron  and  thereby  lower  the  value  of  gold  in  compari- 
son with  iron,  coal,  and  other  economic  components  of  the  value  of  iron. 
It  is  also  quite  likely  it  would  stimulate  the  production  of  iron.  But  both 
of  these  effects  would  combine  to  maintain  a  larger  stock  of  iron  hanging 
as  a  buffer  between  producer  and  consumer.  This  would  steady  value, 
but  it  would  also  in  time  counteract  the  first  temporary  effects  of  the  sup- 
posed monetization  of  iron,  and  neither  price  nor  production  would  con- 
tinue to  be  excessive — with  the  sole  exception  of  the  small  increase  of 
consumption  from  wear  and  tear  of  coins.  It  would  not  in  all  probability 
displace  gold  as  the  money  in  the  market,  because  government,  instead 
of  doing  as  it  now  does,  registering,  and  taking  praise  for  the  best  mone- 
tary substance,  would  attempt  to  monetize  an  ill-adapted  commodity,  a 
task  beyond  its  strength,  and  would  sustain  defeat  as  it  has  often  done 
when  debasement  or  other  anti-economic  schemes  were  undertaken. 

If  as  you  assert  the  main  utility  of  gold  consists  in  the  fact  that  it  is 
used  for  currency,  then  your  general  position  is  impregnable.  But  that 
this  is  not  sound  is  somewhat  implied  by  Greene,  who  recognizes  gold 
and  silver  as  merchandise.  "Specie  is  merchandise  having  its  value  de- 
termined, as  such,  by  supply  and  demand."  The  words  "  as  such  "  may 
simply  imply  "  therefore  "  or  may  imply  an  idea  on  Greene's  part  that 
the  value  of  specie  as  money  was  otherwise  determined.  But  what  evi- 
dence have  we  that  the  very  frequent  resale  of  gold — called  its  monetary 

^4^  iNSTEAD    OF    A    fe60IC. 

circulation — is  effectual  in  altering  its  price  (wear  and  tear  excepted)  ? 
Every  time  gold  is  bought  in  or  gathered  in  taxes  the  tendency  is  to  put 
up  the  price,  and  every  time  it  is  thrown  into  market  or  spent  by  govern- 
ment in  outlay  it  tends  to  lower  its  value.  These  operations  do  not  con- 
stitute a  monopoly.  Any  one  can  buy  and  any  one  can  sell  gold  coin. 
There  is  no  monopoly  in  the  matter.  The  monetary  privilege  is  not  a 
monopoly,  and  it  grows  in  the  open  market,  not  in  the  fancied  forcing- 
house  of  government.  Greene  alleges  (in  small  caps)  that  mutual  money 
would  neither  raise  nor  lower  the  price  of  specie.  You  hold  that  it 
would  be  tangibly  reduced  by  mutual  banking.  Which  is  correct  ?  (lo) 
Comparing  the  reduction  in  value  you  anticipate  with  one  which  might 
arise  in  the  price  of  whiskey  if  there  were  unrestricted  competition 'in  the 
sale  of  it,  you  overlook  the  fact  that  there  is  unrestricted  competition  in 
the  sale  of  gold  bullion  and  specie.  Moreover,  though  we  cannot  tell  by 
what  amount  the  price  of  whiskey  would  be  reduced  by  unrestricted  com- 
petition, we  can  tell  of  what  the  fall  would  consist.  It  would  be  limited 
to  such  relinquishment  of  profit  as  would  be  forced  upon  the  dealers  by 
competition.  If  consumption  increased,  it  might  raise  the  price  by  its 
effect  upon  marginal  or  residual  production  yielding  a  diminished  return, 
or  it  might  be  lowered  by  cheapening  production  by  remunerating  eco- 
nomic employment  of  capital.  This  is  a  false  and  inapplicable  analogy. 
It  is  no  more  correct  to  say  that  gold  is  in  the  process  of  being  consumed 
when  it  is  in  use  as  currency  than  to  say  that  the  inevitable  waste  or  de- 
terioration of  commodities  on  the  road  from  producer  to  consumer  is 
economically  an  act  of  consumption,  (ii)  Production  is  not  complete 
until  the  commodity  reaches  the  hands  of  a  person  who  applies  it  lo  the 
direct  gratification  of  some  personal  craving.  The  waste  of  gold  in  the 
function  of  currency  is  part  of  the  cost  which  the  consumer  has  to  repay 
when  that  coin  has  been  converted  into  a  consumable  product  which  he 
purchases.  The  only  exception  is  that  this  cost  may  fall  upon  some  other 
product  when  the  less  waste  of  gold  is  voluntarily  substituted  for  the 
waste  of  any  other  commodity  if  one  seeks  to  transport  to  a  distant  mar- 
ket mere  value  irrespective  of  its  embodiment.  It  is  as  if  one  tempora- 
rily needed  a  certain  weight  to  steady  a  machine,  but  was  indifferent  as 
to  whether  it  was  embodied  in  stone,  iron,  or  gold,  all  of  which  he  hap- 
pens to  have  in  stock,  but  which  he  can  subsequently  consume  or  sell 
unimpaired,  and  whose  employment  for  this  purpose  only  infinitesimally 
deteriorates  the  ponderable  and  does  not  impoverish  his  trade  stock  be- 
cause it  does  not  withdraw  the  ponderous  article  from  inspection  or  sale. 
It  is  not  correct  to  reply  to  a  monetary  question  by  pointing  out  that 
government  might  keep  gold  as  dear  as  it  now  is  even  if  it  were  as  cheaply 
produced  as  copper,  by  decreeing  that  we  should  drink  only  from  gold 
goblets.  If  this  could  have  such  effect  it  would  be  inapplicable  to  this 
discussion,  because  it  would  be  decreeing  consumption  while  currency  is 
not  consumption,  but  only  marketing.  But  it  would  fail,  because  of  the 
durability  of  substance.  Only  by  buying  up  the  metal  at  the  desired  value 
could  the  value  be  maintained.  No  purchases  of  gold  with  gold  would 
alter  its  value.  Silver,  copper,  wheat  would  have  to  be  used  to  buy  up 
gold  at  the  value  it  was  desired  to  maintain,  and  of  course  no  govern- 
ment would  have  the  strength  for  this.  (12)  It  must  be  remembered  that 
miners  would  be  sellers  at  cost.  The  United  States  government  raises 
the  price  of  silver  now  while  it  is  a  buyer.  If  it  tipped  it  in  mid-ocean 
it  would  then  consume  it  in  an  economic  sense.  When  it  becomes  a 
seller  the  price  must  fall.  The  fact  that  there  is  a  possibility  the  law 
may  change  at  any  moment  even  now  keeps  the  price  from  rising  as  it 

MoNfiV  AJjb  mTERESt.  i4t 

Would  if  the  silver  were  immediately  consumed  or  destroyed  instead  of 
being  hoarded.  Surely  it  is  a  very  palpable  error  to  say  that  when  gov- 
ernment sells  or  spends  gold  it  consumes  it  in  an  economic  sense.  If  I 
swap  a  horse  for  a  cow  and  kill  and  eat  the  cow,  do  I  consume  the  horse? 
(13)  I  took  the  horse  from  the  market  when  I  bought  it,  and  I  return  it  to 
the  market  when  I  offer  to  sell  it.  The  question  of  the  metal  has  de- 
manded so  much  elucidation  that  debts  as  commodities  and  as  currency 
must  wait  a  future  communication.  J.  Greevz  Fisher. 

78  Harrogate  Road,  Leeds,  England. 

(i)  No,  this  is  not  a  correct  interpretation  of  my  phrase, 
because  it  >is  based  upon  a  conception  of  the  term  product 
seriously  differing  from  my  own.  If  a  laborer's  product  is 
looked  upon  as  the  entirety  of  that  which  he  delivers  to  the 
consumer,  then  indeed  Mr.  Fisher's  point  is  well  taken,  and 
to  expect  the  laborer's  wages  to  buy  back  his  product  is  to 
expect  too  much.  But  that  is  not  what  is  ordinarily  meant  by 
a  laborer's  product.  A  laborer's  product  is  such  portion  of 
the  value  of  that  which  he  delivers  to  the,  consumer  as  his 
own  labor  has  contributed.  To  expect  the  laborer's  wages  to 
buy  this  value  back  is  to  expect  no  more  than  simple  equity. 
If  some  other  laborer  has  contributed  to  the  total  value  of  the 
delivered  article  by  making  a  tool  which  has  been  used  in  its 
manufacture  by  the  laborer  who  delivers  it,  then  the  wages 
of  the  laborer  who  makes  the  tool  should  also  buy  back  Ms 
product  or  due  proportion  of  value,  and  would  do  so  under 
liberty.  But  his  portion  of  the  value  and  therefore  his  wage 
would  be  measured  by  the  wear  and  tear  which  the  tool  had 
suffered  in  this  single  act  of  manufacture,  and  not  by  any  sup- 
posed benefit  conferred  by  the  use  of  the  tool  over  and  above 
its  wear  and  tear.  In  other  words,  the  tool-maker  would 
simply  sell  that  portion  of  the  tool  destroyed  in  the  act  of  man- 
ufacture instead  of  lending  the  tool  and  receiving  it  again  ac- 
companied by  a  value  which  would  more  than  restore  it  to  its 
original  condition.  Mr.  Fisher's  interpretation  rests,  further- 
more, on  a  misconception  of  the  term  wages.  When  a  farmer 
hires  a  day-laborer  for  a  dollar  a  day  and  his  boai-d,  the  board 
is  as' truly  a  part  of  the  wages  as  is  the  dollar  ;  and  when  I  say 
that  the  laborer's  wages  should  buy  back  his  product,  I  mean 
that  the  total  amount  which  he  receives  for  his  labor,  whether 
in.  advance  or  subsequently,  and  whether  consumed  before  or 
after  the  performance  of  his  labor,  should  be  equal  in  market 
value  to  his  total  contribution  to  the  product  upon  which  he 
bestows  his  labor.  Is  this  expecting  too  much  ?  If  so,  might 
I  ask  to  whom  the  excess  of  product  over  wage  should  equit- 
ably go  ? 

(2)  Every  man  who  postpones  consumption  takes  a  risk.    If 

S4*  Instead  of  a  book. 

he  keeps  commodities  which  he  does  not  wish  to.  consume, 
they  may  perish  on  his  hands.  If  he  exchanges  them  for 
gold,  the  gold  may  decline  in  value.  If  he  exchanges  them 
for  government  paper  promising  gold  on  demand,  the  paper 
may  decline  in  value.  And  if  he  exchanges  thera  for  mutual 
money,  this  transaction,  like  the  others  (though  in  a  smaller 
degree,  we  claim),  has  its  element  of  risk.  But,  as  long  as 
merchants  seem  to  think  that  they  run  less  risk  by  temporarily 
placing  their  valuables  at  the  disposal  of  others  than  by  re- 
taining possession  of  them,  the  advocates  of  mutual  money 
will  no  more  concern  themselves  about  giving  them  recom- 
pense beyond  the  bare  return  of  their  valuables  unimpaired 
than  the  advocates  of  gold  and  government  paper  will  concern 
themselves  to  insure  the  constancy  of  the  one  or  the  solvency 
of  the  other.  As  for  the  "  something  out  of  nothing  "  fallacy, 
that  is  shared  between  God  and  the  Shylocks,  and,  far  from 
being  entertained  by  the  friends  of  free  banking,  is  their 
special  abomination.  "  Credit  without  remuneration  !  "  shrieks 
Mr.  Fisher  in  horror.  But,  if  credit  is  reciprocal,  why  should 
there  be  remuneration  ?  "  Debt  without  cost  !  "  But,  if  debt 
is  reciprocal,  why  should  there  be  cost  ?  "  Unlimited  or  very 
plentiful  money  without  depreciation  !  "  But  if  the  contem- 
plated addition  to  the  volume  of  currency  contemplates  in 
turn  a  broadening'of  the  basis  of  currency,  why  should  there 
be  depreciation  ?  Free  and  mutual  banking  means  simply 
reciprocity  of  credit,  reciprocity  of  debt,  and  an  extension  of 
the  currency  basis.  Mr.  Fisher  has  been  so  inveterate  a 
drinker  of  bad  economic  whiskey  that  he  has  got  the  eco- 
nomic jim-jams  and  sees  snakes  on  every  hand. 

(3)  In  applying  it  to  his  own  views  also,  Mr.  Fisher  takes 
the  sting  out  of  the  word  "fad."  But  it  was  and  is  my  im- 
pression that  he  originally  applied  it  to  the  views  of  the  free 
money  advocates,  not  in  the  playful  spirit  in  which  all  inde- 
pendent men  call  themselves  "cranks,"  but  in  the  contemp- 
tuous spirit  "in  which  they  are  given  that  appellation  by  the 
mossbacks.  And  it  was  natural  enough.  In  finance,  Mr. 
Fisher  is  a  mossback.  Contempt  for  contempt, — that's  fair, 
isn't  it  ? 

(4)  It  has  been  repeatedly  stated  in  these  columns  that  .we 
ask  nothing  but  liberty.  Given  liberty,  if  we  fail,  we  will  sub- 
side. Nevertheless,  with  Mr.  Fisher's  permission,  we  will 
continue  to  put  in  our  best  licks  for  liberty  in  those  directions 
which  seem  to  us  most  promising  of  good  results.  Mean- 
while we  accord  to  Mr.  Fisher  the  privilege  of  rapping  away 
for  spelling  reform  so  lohg  as  he  does  it  at  his  own  expense, 


which  is  not  the  case  at  present.     (My  readers  may  not  see 
the  point,  but  Mr.  Fisher  and  my  printers  will.) 

(s)  This  I  deny.  It  is  the  especial  claim  of  free  banking 
that  it  will  increase  production.  To  make  capital  fluent  is  to 
make  business  active  and  to  keep  labor  steadily  employed  at 
wages  which  will  cause  a  tremendous  effective  demand  for 
goods.  If  free  banking  were  only  a  picayunish  attempt  to 
distribute  more  equitably  the  small  amount  of  wealth  now  pro- 
duced, I  would  not  waste  a  moment's  energy  on  it. 

(6)  Here  we  have  a  very  good  reason  why  I  should  con- 
tinue to  debate  with  Mr.  Fisher  rather  than  form  a  banking 
partnership  with  Mr.  Westrup.  Very  likely  the  banking  firm  of 
Westrup,  Tucker  &  Co.  would  come  speedily  to  grief.  But  I 
am  none  the  less  interested  in  securing  the  greatest  possible 
liberty  for  banking  so  that  I  may  profit  by  the  greater  compe- 
tition that  would  then  be  carried  on  between  those  born  with 
a  genius  for  finance.  But  what  about  Proudhon,  Mr.  Fisher  ? 
He  was  no  amateur.  He  could  value,  not  only  a  horse,  but  a 
railroad,  the  money  kings  utilized  his  business  brains,  his 
Manual  for  a  Bourse  Speculator  served  them  as  a  guide,  and, 
when  he  started  his  Banque  du  Peuple,  it  immediately  assumed 
such  proportions  that  Napoleon  had  to  construct  a  crime  for 
which  to  clap  him  into  jail  in  order  to  save  the  Bank  of 
France  from  this  dangerous  competitor.     Amateur,  indeed  ! 

(7)  On  the  contrary,  there  is  an  abundance  of  evidence. 
The  suppression  of  Proudhon's  bank  was  a  coercion  of  the 
market.  And  in  this  country  attempt  after  attempt  has  been 
made  to  introduce  credit  money  outside  of  government  and 
national  bank  channels,  and  the  promptness  of  the  suppression 
has  always  been  proportional  to  the  success  of  the  attempt. 

(8)  Here  Mr.  Fisher  becomes  heretical.  The  champions  of 
gold  are  proclaiming  with  one  voice  that  the  monetization  of 
silver  will  prove  the  demonetization  of  gold. 

(9)  Just  as  free,  and  no  more  so.  But  this  is  no  freedom  at 
all.  I  tell  Mr.  Fisher  again  that  it  is  a  crime  to  issue  and  cir- 
culate as  currency  a  note  promising  to  deliver  iron  at  a  certain 
time.  I  know  that  it  is  a  crime  in  this  country,  and  I  believe 
that  the  laws  of  England  contain  restrictions  that  accomplish 
virtually  the  same  result. 

(10)  There  is  no  contradiction  between  my  position  and 
Greene's.  Greene  held,  as  I  hold,  that  the  existing  monopoly 
imparts  an  artificial  value  to  gold,  and  that  the  abolition  of 
the  monopoly  would  take  away  this  artificial  value.  But  he 
also  held,  as  I  hold,  that,  after  this  reduction  of  value  had 
been  effected,  the  variations  in  the  volume  of  mutual  money 

244  INSTEAD    OF   A    BOOK. 

would  be  independent  of  the  price  of  specie.  In  other  words, 
this  reduction  of  the  value  of  gold  from  the  artificial  to  the 
normal  point  will  be  effected  by  the  equal  liberty  given  to 
other  commodities  to  serve  as  a  basis  of  currency;  but,  this 
liberty  having  been  granted  and  having  taken  effect,  the  issue 
of  mutual  money  against  these  commodities,  each  note  being 
based  on  a  specific  portion  of  them,  cannot  affect  the  value  of 
any  of  these  commodities,  of  which  gold  is  one.  It  is  no  an- 
swer to  the  charge  of  monopoly  to  say  that  any  one  can  buy 
and  sell  gold  coin.  No  one  denies  that.  The  monopoly  com- 
plained of  is  this, — that  only  holders  of  gold  (and,  in  this  coun- 
try, of  government  bonds)  can  use  their  property  as  currency 
or  as  a  basis  of  currency.  Such  a  monopoly  has  even  more 
effect  in  enhancing  the  price  of  gold  than  would  a  monopoly 
that  should  allow  only  certain  persons  to  deal  in  gold.  The 
price  of  gold  is  determined  less  by  the  number  of  persons  deal- 
ing in  it  than  by  the  ratio  of  the  total  supply  to  the  total  de- 
mand. The  monopoly  that  the  Anarchists  complain  of  is  the 
monopoly  that  increases  the  demand  for  gold  by  giving  it  the 
currency  function  to  the  exclusion  of  other  commodities.  If 
my  whiskey  illustration  isn't  satisfactory,  I  will  change  it.  If 
whiskey  were  the  only  alcoholic  drink  allowed  to  be  used  as  a 
beverage,  it  would  command  a  higher  price  than  it  commands 
now.  I  should  then  tell  Mr.  Fisher  that  the  value  of  whiskey 
was  artificial  and  that  free  rum  would  reduce  it  to  its  normal 
point.  If  he  should  then  ask  me  what  the  normal  point  was, 
I  should  answer  that  I  had  no  means  of  knowing.  If  he  should 
respond  that  the  fall  in  whiskey  resulting  from  free  rum  "would 
be  limited  to  such  relinquishment  of  profit  as  would  be  forced 
upon  the  dealers  by  competition,"  I  should  acquiesce  with  the 
remark  that  the  distance  from  London  to  Liverpool  is  equal 
to  the  distance  from  Liverpool  to  London, 

(ii)  It  is  Mr.  Fisher's  analogy,  not  mine,  that  is  false  and 
inapplicable.  The  proper  analogy  is  not  between  gold  and' 
the  commodities  carried,  but  between  gold  and  the  vehicle  in 
which  they  are  carried.  The  cargo  of  peaches  that  rots  on  its 
way  from  California  to  New  England  may  not  be  economically 
consumed  (though  for  my  life  I  can't  see  why  such  consump- 
tion isn't  as  economic  as  the  tipping  of  silver  into  the  Atlantic 
by  the  United  States  government,  which  Mr.  Fisher  considers 
purely  economic),  but  at  any  rate  the  wear  of  the  car  that 
carries  the  cargo  is  an  instance  of  economic  consumption. 
Now  the  gold  that  goes  to  California  to  pay  for  those  peaches 
and  comes  back  to  New  England  to  pay  for  cotton  cloth,  and 
thus  goes  back  and  forth  as  constantly  as  the  railway  car  and 


facilitates  exchange  equally  with  the  railway  car  and  wears 
out  in  the  process  just  as  the  railway  car  wears  out,  is  in  my 
judgment  consumed  precisely  as  the  railway  car  is  consumed. 
That  only  is  a  complete  product,  Mr.  Fisher  tells  us,  which  is 
in  the  hands  of  a  person  who  applies  it  to  the  direct  gratifica- 
tion of  some  personal  craving.  I  suppose  Mr.  Fisher  will  not 
deny  that  a  railway  car  is  a  complete  product.  But  if  it  can 
be  said  to  be  in  the  hands  of  a  person  who  applies  it  to  the 
direct  gratification  of  some  personal  craving,  then  the  same 
can  be  said  of  gold. 

(12)  I  did  not  mean  to  say  for  a  moment  that  a  government 
could  carry  out  such  an  arbitrary  policy  of  fixing  values  to  an 
unlimited  extent  without  a  revolution,  but  only  that  as  far  as 
the  attempt  should  be  made,  the  economic  result,  pending  the 
revolution,  would  be  as  stated. 

(13)  Yes,  to  a  trifling  extent.  And  if  the  horse  were  then 
to  be  used  to  buy  a  sheep,  and  then  to  buy  a  dog,  and  then  to 
buy  a  cat,  and  then  to  buy  a  cigar,  until  finally  he  could  not 
be  sold  for  enough  oats  to  keep  him  from  falling  in  his  tracks, 
it  is  my  firm  conviction  that  the  horse  in  that  case  would  be 
economically  consumed  in  fulfilling  the  function  of  currency. 


[Liberty,  .February  26, 1887.] 

I  MUST  refer  once  more  to  the  Winsted  Press  and  its 
editor.  It  is  lamentable  to  see  so  bright  a  man  as  Mr.  Pinney 
wasting  his  nervous  force  in  assaults  on  windmills.  But  it  is 
his  habit,  whenever  he  finds  it  necessary  or  thinks  it  timely  to 
say  something  in  answer  to  free-money  advocates,  to  set  up  a 
windmill,  label  it  free  money,  and  attack  that.  An  instance 
of  this  occurs  in  a  scolding  article  on  the  subject  in  his  issue 
of  February  17,  as  the  following  sentence  shows  :  "We  had  a 
little  taste  of  this  free  currency  in  the  days  of  State  wildcat 
banking,  when  every  little  community  had  its  State  bank 
issues."  The  italics  are  mine, — used  to  emphasize  the  substi- 
tution of  the  windmill  State  for  the  giant  Freedom.  How 
could  State  bank  issues  be  free  money  ?  Monopoly  is  monop- 
oly, whether  granted  by  the  United  States  or  by  a  single 
State,  and  the  old  State  banking  system  was  a  thoroughly 
monopolistic  system.  The  unfairness  and  absurdity  of  Mr. 
Finney's  remark  become  apparent  with  the  reflection  that  the 

246  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

principal  English  work  relied  upon  by  the  friends  of  free 
money,  Colonel  Greene's  "Mutual  Banking,"  was  written  ex- 
pressly in  opposition  to  the  then  existing  State  banking  sys- 
tem, years  before  the  adoption  of  the  national  banking  system. 
Mr.  Pinney  wouM  not  fall  back  upon  this  idiotic  argument  if 
he  had  a  better  one.  That  he  has  none  is  indicated  by  his 
saying  of  free  money,  as  he  says  of  free  trade  :  "  In  theory  the 
scheme  is  plausible.  In  practice  it  would  probably  be  an  abom- 
ination." Mr.  Finney's  old  conservative,  cowardly,  Calvin- 
istic  refuge  !  When  driven  into  a  corner  on  a  question  which 
turns  on  the  principle  of  Liberty,  he  has  but  one  resort,  which 
amounts  practically  to  this  :  "  Liberty  is  right  in  theory  every- 
where and  always,  but  in  certain  cases  it  is  not  practical.  In 
all  cases  where  I  want  men  to  have  it,  it  is  practical ;  but  in 
those  cases  where  I  do  not  want  men  to  have  it,  it  is  not  prac- 
tical." What  Mr.  f  inney  wants  and  does  not  want  depends 
upon  mental  habits  and  opinions  acquired  prior  to  that  theo- 
retical assent  to  the  principle  of  hberty  which  the  arguments 
of  the  Anarchists  have  wrung  from  him. 


[Liberty,  March  26,  1887.] 

Pinney  of  the  Winsted  Press  grows  worse  and  worse.  It 
will  be  remembered  that,  in  attacking  the  free-money  theory, 
he  said  we  had  a  taste  of  it  in  the  day  of  State  wildcat  bank- 
ing, when  every  little  community  had  its  State  bank  issues  ;  to 
which  I  made  this  answer  :  "  How  could  State  bank  issues 
be  free  money  ?  Monopoly  is  monopoly,  whether  granted  by 
the  United  States  or  by  a  single  State,  and  the  old  State  bank- 
ing system  was  a  thoroughly  monopolistic  system."  This  lan- 
guage clearly  showed  that  the  free-money  objection  to  the  old 
State  banks  as  well  as  to  the  present  national  banks  is  not 
founded  on  any  mistaken  idea  that  in  either  case  the  govern- 
ment actually  issues  the  money,  but  that  in  both  cases  alike 
the  money  is  issued  by  a  monopoly  granted  by  the  government. 
But  Pinney,  not  daring  to  meet  this,  affects  to  ignore  the  real 
meaning  of  my  words  by  assuming  to  interpret  them  as  follows 
(thus  giving  new  proof  of  my  assertion  that  he  wastes  his 
strength  in  attacking  windmills): 

It  is  apparently  Mr.  Tucker's  notion  that  State  banlcs  were  an  institu- 
tion of  the  State.     They  were  no  more  a  government   institution  than 


is  a  railroad  company  that  receives  its  charters  from  the  State  and  con- 
ducts its  business  as  a  private  corporation  under  State  laws.  .  .  .  For 
purposes  of  illustration,  they  answer  well,  and  Mr. Tucker's  effort  to 
lessen  the  force  of  the  illustration  by  answering  that  they  were  institu- 
tions of  the  State,  because  they  are  called  for  convenience  State  banks,  is 
very  near  a  resort  to  wilful  falsehood. 

What  refreshing  audacity  !  Pinney  knovv's  perfectly  well 
that  the  advocates  of  free  money  are  opposed  to  the  national 
banks  as  a  monopoly  enjoying  a  privilege  granted  by  the  gov- 
ernment ;  yet  these,  like  the  old  State  banks,  are  no  more  a 
government  institution  than  such  a  railroad  company  as  he 
describes.  Both  national  and  State  banks  are  law-created 
and  law-protected  monopolies,  and  therefore  not  free.  Any- 
body, it  is  true,  could  establish  a  State  bank,  and  can  estab- 
lish a  national  bank,  who  can  observe  the  prescribed  condi- 
tions. But  the  monopoly  inheres  in  theu  compulsory  conditions. 
The  fact  that  national  bank-notes  can  be  issued  only  by  those 
who  have  government  bonds  and  that  State  bank-notes  could 
be  issued  only  by  those  who  had  specie  makes  both  vitally  and 
equally  objectionable  from  the  standpoint  of  free  and  mutual 
banking,  the  chief  aim  of  which  is  to  secure  the  right  of  all 
wealth  to  monetization  without  prior  conversion  into  some  par- 
ticular form  of  wealth  limited  in  amount  and  without  being 
subjected  to  ruinous  discounts.  If  Mr.  Pinney  does  not  know 
this,  he  is  not  competent  to  discuss  finance  ;  if  he  does  know 
it,  it  was  a  quibble  and  "  very  near  a  resort  to  wilful  false- 
hood "  for  him  to  identify  the  old  State  banking  system  with 
free  banking. 

But  he  has  another  objection  to  free  money, — that  it  would 
enable  the  man  who  has  capital  to  monetize  it,  and  so  double 
his  advantages  over  the  laborer  who  has  none.  Therefore  he 
would  have  the  general  government,  which  he  calls  the  whole 
people,  "  monetize  their  combined  wealth  and  use  it  in  the 
form  of  currency,  while  at  the  same  time  the  wealth  remains 
in  its  owner's  hands  for  business  purposes."  This  is  Mr. 
Finney's  polite  and  covert  way  of  saying  that  he  would  have 
those  without  property  confiscate  the  goods  of  those  who 
have  property.  For  no  governmental  mask,  no  fiction  of  the 
"whole  people,"  can  disguise  the  plain  fact  tha»to  compel 
one  man  to  put  his  property  under  pawn  to  secure  money  issued 
by  or  to  another  man  who  has  no  property  is  robbery  and 
nothing  else.  Though  you  leave  the  property  in  the  owner's 
hands,  there  is  a  "  grab  "  mortgage  upon  it  in  the  hands  of  the 
government,  which  can  foreclose  when  it  sees  fit.  Mr.  Pinney 
is  on  the  rankest  Communistic  ground,  and  ought  to  declare 
biraself  a  State  SQgialist  at  once.     -  -  ^    " 

248  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

Certainly  no  one  wishes  more  heartily  than  I  that  every  in- 
dustrious .man  was  the  owner  of  capital,  and  it  is  precisely  to 
secure  this  result  that  I  desire  free  money.  I  thought  Mr. 
Pinney  was  a  good  enough  Greenbacker  to  know  (for  the 
Greenbackers  know  some  valuable  truths,  despite  their  fiat- 
money  delusion)  that  the  economic  beneiits  of  an  abundance 
of  good  money  in  circulation  are  shared  by  all,  and  not  reaped 
exclusively  by  the  issuers.  He  has  often  clearly  shown  that 
the  effect  of  such  abundance  is  to  raise  the  laborer's  wages  to 
an  equivalence  to  his  product,  after  which  every  laborer  who 
wishes  to  possess  capital  will  be  able  to  accumulate  it  by  his 
work.  All  that  is  wanted  is  a  means  of  issuing  such  an  abun- 
dance of  money  free  of  usury.  Now,  if  they  only  had  the 
liberty  to  do  so,  there  are  already  enough  large  and  small 
property-holders  willing  and  anxious  to  issue  money,  to  pro- 
vide a  far  greater  amount  than  is  needed,  and  there  would  be 
sufificient  competition  among  them  to  bring  the  price  of  issue 
down  to  cost, — that  is,  to  abolish  interest.  Liberty  avoids 
both  forms  of  robbery,— monopoly  on  the  one  side  and  Com- 
munism on  the  other, — and  secures  all  the  beneficent  results 
that  are  (falsely)  claimed  for  either. 


{Liberty^  April  23,  1887.] 

Having  exhausted  the  resources  of  sophistry,  and  unable 
longer  to  dodge  the  inexorable  and  Procrustean  logic  of 
Pinney  the  anti-Prohibitionist,  Pinney  the  Protectionist  has 
subsided,  and  is  now  playing  possum  in  the  Procrustean  bed 
in  which  Pinney  the  anti-Prohibitionist  has  laid  him.  But 
Pinney  the  Greenbacker  evidently  hopes  still,  by  some  for- 
tunate twist  or  double,  to  find  an  avenue  of  escape  yet  open, 
and  thus  avoid  the  necessity  of  doing  the  possum  act  twice. 
Accordingly,  in  his  Winsted  Fress  of  April  7,  he  makes  sev- 
eral frantic  dashes  into  the  dark,  the  first  of  which  is  as  fol- 
lows :  * 

Our  first  objection  to  free  money  was  that  the  great  variety  of  issues, 
coupled  with  a  questionable  security,  would  limit  circulation  to  local  cir- 
cuits and  subject  the  bill-holder  to  harassing  uncertainty  as  to  the  value 
of  currency  in  his  possession  and  to  constant  risk  of  loss.  To  illustrate 
this  defect  we  mentioned  the  experience  of  the  people  with  the  old  State 
bank  bills,  which  experience,  disastrous  as  it  was,  did  not  offer  a  fair  par- 
allel, simply  and  solely  because  it  was  not  disastrous  enough,  the  b^nks  \)%- 


ing  limited  and  regulated  in  a  measure  by  State»laws  and  machinery  to 
enforce  contracts.  Our  Boston  Procrustes  thereupon  plunged  straight  into 
trouble  by  denying  the  similitude,  because  forsooth  the  old  banks  were 
incorporated  institutions  not  perfectly  free  to  cheat  their  creditors,  forget- 
ting that,  in  so  far  as  they  differed  from  free  banks,  the  difference  in  point 
of  security,  scope  of  credit,  etc.,  was  in  our  favor. 

That  is  one  way  of  putting  it.  Here  is  another.  Free  money- 
advocates  hold  that  security  is  one  (only  one)  essential  of  good 
money,  and  that  competition  is  sure  to  provide  this  essential, 
competition  being  simply  natural  selection  or  the  survival  of 
the  fittest,  and  the  fittest  necessarily  possessing  the  quality  of 
security.  But  they  have  never  held  that  it  was  impossible  for 
monopoly  to  furnish  a  temporally  secure  money.  It  may  or 
may  not  do  so,  according  to  the  prescribed  conditions  of  its 
existence.  Pending  the  universal  bankruptcy  and  revolution 
to  which  it  inevitably  will  lead  if  allowed  to  live  long  enough, 
the  national  bank  monopoly  furnishes  a  money  tolerably  well 
secured.  But  the  old  State  bank  monopoly  furnished  a 
money  far  inferior  in  point  of  security,  not  because  it  was  a 
freer  system, — for  it  was  not, — not  because  the  conditions  of 
its  existence  were  less  artificially  and  compulsorily  prescribed, 
— for  they  were  not, — but  because  the  conditions  thus  pre- 
scribed were  less  in  accordance  with  wise  business  principles 
and  administration.  The  element  of  competition,  or  natural 
selection,  upon  which  the  free  money  advocates  rely  for  the 
supply  of  a  money  that  combines  security  with  all  other  nec- 
essary qualities,  was  just  as  much  lacking  from  the  old  State 
bank  system  as  it  is  from  the  present  national  bank  system. 
Therefore,  to  say  of  the  State  banks  that,  "  in  so  far  as  they 
differed  from  free  banks,  the  difference  in  point  of  security, 
scope  of  credit,  etc.,  was  in  their  favor  "  is  to  beg  the  question 
entirely  ;  and  accordingly,  when  Mr.  Pinney,  as  sole  proof  of  an 
assertion  that  free  money  would  be  unsafe  money,  offered  the 
insecurity  of  .the  old  State  bank  bills,  I  informed  him  that 
there  was  not  the  slightest  pertinence  in  his  illustration, 
whereby  I  plunged,  not  myself,  but  Mr.  Pinney  into  trouble. 

To  get  out  of  it  he  performs  a  double  which  eclipses  all  his 
previous  evolutions.  Finding  that  he  must  deal  in  some  way 
with  my  statement  that  the  monopoly  of  money  inheres  in  the 
compulsory  conditions  of  its  issue,  chief  among  which  are 
the  government  bond  basis  in  the  national  bank  system  and 
the  specie  basis  in  the  old  State  bank  system,  he  asks  : 

How  then  about  your  free  banking?  Are  there  not  any  "compulsory 
conditions?"  Free  bank  notes  can  be  issued  only  by  those  who  have 
government  bonds,  or  specie,  or  property  of  some  sort,  we  suppose,  so 
tjiere  are  your  ''compulsory  conditions,"  enforced  by  the  business  law 

250  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

of  self-preservation  (fjr  State  law  is  not  to  be  mentioned  in  Anarchist 
ears),  and  "  the  monopoly  inheres  in  these  compulsory  conditions." 
Behold,  then,  the  new  monopoly  of  those  who  have  property  I 

To  this  absurdity  there  are  tvi'O  ansv^fers.  In  the  first  place, 
it  is  not  true  that  under  a  free  banking  system  "  notes  can  be 
issued  only  by  those  who  have  property  of  some  sort."  They 
can  be  'issued  and  offered  in  the  market  by  anybody  who 
desires.  To  be  sure,  none  will  be  taken  except  those  issued 
by  persons  having  either  property  or  credit.  But  there  is  no 
monopoly  of  issue  or  the  right  to  issue,  no  denial  of  liberty. 
If  Mr.  Pinney  should  claim  that  this  answer  amounts  to 
nothing  because  issue  is  valueless  without  circulation,  I  shall 
then  remind  him  of  my  previous  statement  that  the  circulation 
of  an  abundance  of  cheap  and  sound  money  benefits  those 
who  use  it  no  less  than  those  who  issue  it,  and  tends  to  raise 
the  laborer's  wages  to  a  level  with  his  product, — a  point  which 
he  carefully  avoids  in  his  last  article,  because  he  knows  that 
he  cannot  dispute  it,  having  frequently  maintained  the  same 
thing  himself. 

But,  in  the  second  place,  Mr.  Finney's  argument  that  the 
possession  of  property  is  a  necessary  condition  of  the  issue 
and  circulation  of  money,  and  that  therefore  free  money  is 
as  much  a  compulsory  monopoly  as  that  of  the  government 
which  prescribes  the  possession  of  a  certain  kind  of  property 
as  a  condition  of  even  the  issue  of  money,  is  precisely  on  a 
par  with — in  fact,  is  a  glaring  instance  of — the  reasoning 
resorted  to  by  those  friends  of  despotism  who  deny  political 
and  social  liberty  on  the  ground  of  philosophical  necessity. 
The  moment  any  person,  in  the  name  of  human  freedom, 
claims  the  right  to  do  anything  which  another  person  does 
not  want  him  to  do,  you  will  hear  the  second  person  cry  : 
"  Freedom  !  Impossible  1  There's  no  such  thing.  None  of 
us  are  free.  Are  we  not  all  governed  by  circumstances,  by 
our  surroundings,  by  motives  beyond  our  control  ?  Bow,  then, 
to  the  powers  that  be  !  "  Boiled  down,  the  argument  of  these 
people  and  of  Mr.  Pinney  is  this  :  "  No  one  can  do  as  he 
pleases.  Therefore  you  must  do  as  we  please."  It  needs 
only  to  be  stated  in  this  bald  form  to  be  immediately  rejected. 
Hence  I  shall  attempt  no  further  refutation  of  it.  Mr.  Pinney 
will  please  bear  in  mind  hereafter  that,  when  I  use  the  word 
monopoly,  I  refer  not  to  such  monopolies  as  result  from  nat- 
ural evolution  independent  of  government,  but  to  monopolies 
imposed  by  arbitrary  human  power.  He  knew  it  very  well 
before,  but  he  must  dodge,  and  this  was  the  only  dodge  left. 
Let   the  reader  note  here,  however,  how  his  double  un(Ji(J 

MONEY   AND   iNTERESl'.  25 1 

him.  He  Says  .that  under  free  banking  the  condition  of  a 
secure  basis  for  money  would  be  "  enforced  by  the  business 
law  of  self-preservation,"  exactly  the  opposite  of  his  original 
charge  that  free  money  would  be  unsafe. 

But  he  is  not  yet  done  with  this  twaddle  about  "  compulsory 
conditions."     Read  again  : 

Mr.  Tucker  cannot  see  that  there  is  any  difference  in  principle  between 
a  law  which  absolutely  prohibits  the  sale  of  an  article,  and  a  law  which 
taxes  the  seller  of  that  article.  The  tax  is  a  "compulsory  condition  " 
which  prohibits  till  it  is  complied  with.  The  possession  of  property  is 
another  compulsory  condition  which  prohibits  free  banking  till  it  is  com- 
plied with.  Therefore  there  is  no  difference  between  absolute  prohibition 
of  free  banking  and  the  monopolistic  condition  that  practically  prohibits 
a  man  from  being  a  free  banker  unless  he  can  put  up  the  security. 

Utter  confusion  again  !  Mr.  Pinney  seems  unable  to  dis- 
tinguish between  disabilities  created  by  human  meddlesomeness 
and  those  that  are  not.  The  law  which  prohibits  a  sale  and 
the  law  which  taxes  the  seller  both  belong  to  the  former  class  ; 
the  lack  of  property  belongs  to  the  latter,  or  rather,  it  belongs 
to  the  latter  when  conditions  are  normal.  It  is  true  that  the 
lack  of  property  which  at  present  prevails  arises  in  most  cases 
out  of  this  very  denial  of  free  banking,  but  I  cannot  believe 
that  even  Mr.  Pinney  would  cap  the  climax  of  his  absurdity 
by  assigning  as  a  reason  for  the  further  denial  of  free  banking 
a  condition  of  affairs  which  has  grown  out  of  its  denial  in  the 
past.  The  number  of  people  who  now  own  property,  and  the 
amount  of  property  which  they  own,  are  sufficient  to  insure 
us  an  abundance  of  money  as  soon  as  soon  as  its  issue  shall 
be  allowed,  and  from  the  time  this  issue  begins  the  total 
amount  of  property  and  the  number  of  property-owners  will 
steadily  increase. 

To  my  objection  to  his  government  money  monopoly  that 
it  would  be  Communistic  robbery  to  mortgage  all  the  wealth 
of  the  nation  to  secure  all  the  money  of  the  nation,  Mr.  Pinney 
can  only  make  answer  that  the  possibility  that  the  government 
would  foreclose  the  mortgage — that  is,  increase  taxation — 
would  be  very  remote.  As  if  any  possibility  could  be  con- 
sidered remote  which  is  within  the  power  and  for  the  interest 
of  lawmakers  to  achieve,  and  as  if  it  were  not  the  end  and  aim 
of  government  to  tax  the  people  all  that  it  possibly  can  ! 

252  Instead  op  a  book. 


[Liberty^  May  i6,  i8gi.] 

Liberty  is  asked  by  the  Mutual  Bank  Propaganda  of  Chicago 
to  answer  the  following  questions,  and  takes  pleasure  in  com- 
plying with  the  request. 

"  I.  Does  the  prohibitory  tax  of  ten  per  cent,  imposed  by 
Congress  on  any  issue  of  paper  money  other  than  is  issued 
by  the  U.  S.  Treasury  limit  the  volume  of  money  ?  If  not, 
why  not  ? 


"  2.  Whence  did  the  State  originally  derive  the  '  right '  to 
dictate  what  the  people  should  use  as  money  ?  " 

From  its  power. 

"  3.  If  an  association  or  community  voluntarily  agree  to  use 
a  certain  money  of  their  own  device  to  facilitate  the  exchange 
of  products  and  avoid  high  rates  of  interest,  has  the  State  the 
right  to  prohibit  such  voluntary  association  for  mutual  ad- 
vantage ? " 

Only  the  right  of  might. 

"  4.  Do  not  restrictions  as  to  what  shall  be  used  as  money 
interfere  with  personal  liberty  ?  " 


"  5.  Has  the  question  of  free  trade  in  banking — i.e.,  the 
absence  of  all  interference  on  the  part  of  the  State  with 
making  and  supplying  money — ever  been  a  matter  of  public 
discussion  ? " 


"  6.  What  effect  does  the  volume  of  money  have  upon  the 
rate  of  interest  ?" 

I  suppose  the  intention  is  to  ask  what  effect  changes  in  the 
volume  of  money  have  upon  the  rate  of  interest.  Not  neces- 
sarily any  ;  but  any  arbitrary  limitation  of  the  volume  of 
money  that  tends  to  keep  it  below  the  demand  also  tends  to 
raise  the  rate  of  interest. 

"  7.  Can  the  business  of  banking  and  the  supply  of  money 
be  said  to  be  under  the  operation  of  supply  and  demand 
where  the  State  prohibits  or  restricts  its  issue,  or  dictates  what 
shall  be  used  as  money  ?  " 

Inasmuch  as  they  often  are  said  to  be  so,  they  evidently 
can  be  said  to  be  so,  but  whoever  says  them  to  be  so  lies. 

"  8.  Is  there  such  a  thing  as  a  measure  or  standard  of  value  ? 
If  so,  how  is  it  constituted,  and  what  is  its  function  ? " 

MOMEV    AND   iNtERESt.  2^;^ 

There  is  such  a  thing  as  a  measure  or  standard  of  value 
whenever  we  use  anything  as  such.  It  is  constituted  such 
either  by  force  or  by  agreement.  Its  function  is  implied  in 
its  name — measure  of  value.  Without  the  selection,  delib- 
erate or  accidental,  conscious  or  unconscious,  of  something 
as  a  standard  of  value,  money  is  not  only  impossible,  but  un- 

"  9.  What  becomes  of  the  '  standard  '  or  '  measure  '  of  value 
during  suspensions  of  specie  payment  ?  " 

Nothing.  It  remains  what  it  was  before.  Certain  parties 
have  refused  to  pay  their  debts  ;  that's  all. 

"  10.  Are  you  in  favor  of  free  trade  in  banking,  including 
the  issue  of  paper  money  ?     If  not,  why  not  ?  " 



\_LzhertVi  June  13,  1891.] 

Readers  of  Liberty  will  remember  an  article  in  No.  184  on 
"  The  Functions  of  Money,"  reprinted  from  the  Galveston 
News.  In  a  letter  to  the  News  I  commented  upon  this  article 
as  follows: 

I  entirely  sympathize  with  your  disposal  of  the  Evening  Post's  at- 
tempt to  belittle  the  function  of  money  as  a  medium  of  exchange  ;  but 
do  you  go  far  enough  when  you  content  yourself  with  saying  that  a 
standard  of  value  is  highly  desirable  ?  Is  it  not  absolutely  necessary  ? 
Is  money  posible  without  it?  If  no  standard  is  definitely  adopted,  and 
then  if  paper  money  is  issued,  does  not  the  first  commodity  that  the  first 
note  is  exchanged  for  immediately  become  a  standard  of  value?  Is  not 
the  second  holder  of  the  note  governed  in  making  his  next  purchase  by 
what  he  parted  with  in  his  previous  sale?  Of  course  it  is  a  very  poor 
standard  that  is  thus  arrived  at,  and  one  that  must  come  in  conflict  with 
other  standards  adopted  in  the  same  indefinite  way  by  other  exchanges 
occurring  independently  but  almost  simultaneously  with  the  first  one 
above  supposed.  But  so  do  gold  and  silver  come  in  conflict  now. 
Doesn't  it  all  show  that  the  idea  of  a  standard  is  inseparable  from  money  ? 
Moreover,  there  is  no  danger  in  a  standard.  The  whole  trouble  dis- 
appears with  the  abolition  of  the  basis  privilege. 

The  News  printed  my  letter,  and  made  the  following  re- 

It  will  occur  that  in  emphasizing  one  argument  there  is  such  need  of 
passing  others  by  with  seeming  unconcern  that  to  some  minds  other 
truths  seem  slighted, — truths  which  also  need  emphasizing  perhaps  in 
an  equal,  or  it  may  be,  for  useful  practical  reasons,  in  a  superior  degree. 

254  INSTEAD    OP    A    BOOK. 

The  News  alms  at  illustrating  one  thing  at  a  time,  but  it  is  both  recep- 
tive and  grateful  to  those  correspondents  who  intelligently  extend  its 
work  and  indicate  useful  subjects  for  discussion,  giving  their  best  thought 
thereon.  A  Boston  reader,  speaking  of  the  standard  of  value,  states  an 
undeniable  truth  to  the  effect  that  without  a  thing  or  things  of  value  to 
which  paper  money  can  be  referred  and  which  can  ultimately  be  got  for 
it,  such  money  would  be  untrustworthy  or  worthless.  The  News  in 
a  past  article  was  discussing  primary  commerce  and  the  transition  to 
indirect  exchange.  No  agreed  standard  for  valuation  is  needed  while 
mere  barter  is  the  rule  ;  but  it  is  indispensable  as  soon  as  circulating 
notes  are  issued.  The  vice  of  the  greenback  theory  is  that  the  notes  do 
not  call  for  anything  in  particular,  and  so,  if  their  volume  be  doubled, 
their  purchasing  power  must  apparently  decline  one-half.  A  note  pro- 
perly based  on  gold,  silver,  wheat,  cotton,  or  other  commodity  has  a 
tangible  security  behind  it.  The  one  thing  may  be  better  than  the 
other,  but  the  principle  is  there  in  all.  It  is,  however,  a  notable  truth 
that  the  standard  for  valuation  can  be  nothing  better  than  an  empirical 
one.  Like  mathematical  quantities,  value  has  no  independent  existence, 
but,  unlike  mathematical  quantities,  value  has  not  even  existence  as  a 
quality  of  one  object.  It  cannot  be  compared  to  a  measure  of  length, 
which  posesses  the  quality  of  extension  in  itself.  Gold  is  assumed  to 
vary  little  in  relation  to  other  things,  and  they  to  vary  much  in  relation 
to  gold.  Nobody  can  know  how  much  gold  does  vary  in  the  relation. 
The  notable  steadiness  is  in  the  amount  of  labor  which  will  produce  a 
given  quantity  and  the  length  of  time  which  it  will  last.  The  basis  of  the 
assumed  steadiness  of  gold  is  thus  found.  But  if  the  standard  for  use  in 
making  valuations  be  confessedly  empirical  and  value  an  elusive  quality 
not  of  things  separately,  but  of  things  in  relation,  there  is  a  countervail- 
ing difference  between  a  standard  of  length  and  a  standard  of  value, 
which  results  in  disposing  of  the  objection  that  the  standard  is  empirical. 
Why  would  it  be  a  serious  objection  to  a  yardstick  if  it  were  longer  or 
shorter  from  day  to  day  ?  Because  thus  the  customer  would  get  more  or 
less  cloth  than  was  intended.  But  why  is  that?  Because  the  function 
of  the  yardstick  is  to  measure  for  delivery  as  great  a  length  of  cloth  as 
its  own  length.  But  now  let  us  visit  a  bank  or  insurance  office.  We 
want  a  loan  of  circulating  notes  or  a  policy  of  insurance.  The  property 
offered  as  security  is  valued.  Assume  that  gold  is  taken  as  the  standarci, 
and  that  the  loan  or  the  policy  is  for  $600  on  a  valuation  of  $1000.  It 
is  no  matter  in  these  cases  if  the  standard  varies,  provided  it  does  not 
vary  to  exceed  the  margin  between  the  valuation  and  the  obligation.  The 
property  pledged  is  merely  security  for  the  loan,  or,  in  the  case  of  in- 
surance, the  premium  paid  is  a  per  cent,  of  the  amount  insured.  The 
margin  between  the  valuation  and  the  loan  is  established  to  make  the  loan 
abundantly  safe.  The  policy  is  safely  written  through  the  same  expedi- 
ent. The  empirical  standard  of  value  has  a  needful  compensation  about 
it  which  the  yardstick  or  other  measure  neither  has  nor  needs, — viz.,  the 
valuing  goods  does  not  deliver  them.  It  is  provisional.  In  case  of 
default  in  paying  back  the  loan,  the  goods  are  sold  and  the  same  money 
borrowed  is  paid  back,  but  the  residue  goes  to  the  borrower.  It  is  there- 
fore an  efficient  compensation  for  the  lack  of  an  invariable  standard  of 
value  that  the  actual  standard  in  any  case  is  simply  used  as  a  means  of 
estimating  limits  within  which  loans  are  safe.  All  danger  is  avoided  by 
giving  the  borrower  the  familiar  right  in  case  of  foreclosure.  It  is  some- 
times a  fine  thing  to  discover  distinctions,  but  it  is  a  frequently  a  finer 
thing  to  discover  whether  or  not  the  distinctions  affect  the  question. 

MONEV  Aisic  Interest.  255 

While  not  hesitating  for  a  moment  to  accept  the  News's 
explanation  that,  when  hinting  that  a  standard  of  value  is  not 
indispensable,  it  was  speaking  of  barter  only,  I  may  point  out 
nevertheless  that  there  was  a  slip  of  the  pen,  and  that  the 
words  actually  used  conveyed  the  idea  that  something  more 
than  barter  was  in  view.  Let  me  quote  from  the  original 
article  : 

It  is  manifest  that  a  medium  of  exchange  is  absolutely  necessary  to  all 
trade  beyond  barter.  A  standard  of  value  is  highly  desirable,  but  per- 
haps this  is  as  much  as  can  be  safely  asserted  on  that  question. 

It  seems  to  me  a  fair  interpretation  of  this  language  to  claim 
the  meaning  that  in  trade  beyond  barter  it  is  not  sure  that  a 
standard  of  value  is  absolutely  necessary.  And  this  interpre- 
tation receives  additional  justification  when  it  is  remembered 
that  the  words  were  used  in  answer  to  the  Evening  Post's 
contention  that,  in  comparing  the  two  functions  of  money,  its 
office  of  medium  of  exchange  must  be  held  inferior  to  its 
office  of  measuring  values. 

However,  the  JSfews  now  makes  it  sufficiently  clear  that  a 
standard  of  value  is  absolutely  essential  to  money,  thereby 
taking  common  ground  with  me  against  the  position  of 
Comrade  Westrup.  Still  I  cannot  quite  agree  to  all  that  it 
says  in  comment  upon  the  Westrup  view. 

First,  I  question  its  admission  that  a  measure  of  value  dif- 
fers from  a  measure  of  length  in  that  the  former  is  empirical. 
True,  value  is  a  relation  ;  but  then,  what  is  extension  ?  Is  not 
that  a  relation  also, — the  relation  of  an  object  to  space  ?  If  so, 
then  the  yardstick  does  not  possess  the  quality  of  extension  in 
itself,  being  as  dependent  for  it  upon  space  as  gold  is  depen- 
dent for  its  value  upon  other  commodities.  But  this  is  meta- 
physical and  may  lead  us  far  ;  therefore  I  do  not  insist,  and 
p'ass  on  to  a  more  important  consideration. 

Second,  J  question  whether  the  News's  "  countervailing 
difference  between  a  standard  of  length  and  a  standard  of 
value  "  establishes  all  that  it  claims.  In  the  supposed  case 
of  a  bank  loan  secured  by  mortgage,  the  margin  between  the 
valuation  and  the  obligation  practically  secures  the  note- 
holder against  loss  from  a  decline  in  the  value  of  the  security, 
but  it  does  not  secure  him  against  loss  from  a  decline  in  the 
value  of  the  standard,  or  make  it  impossible  for  him  to  profit 
by  a  rise  in  the  value  of  the  standard.  Suppose  that  a  farmer, 
having  a  farm  worth  $5000  in  gold,  mortgages  it  to  a  bank  as 
security  for  a  loan  of  $2500  in  notes  newly  issued  by  the  bank 
against  this  farm.     With  these  notes  he  purchases  implements 

25^  iNSTEAfi    OF    A    fiOOK. 

from  a  manufacturer.  When  the  mortgage  expires  a  year 
later,  the  borrower  fails  to  to  lift  it.  Meanwhile  gold  has 
declined  in  value.  The  farm  is  sold  under  the  hammer,  and 
brings,  instead  of  $5000  in  gold,  $6000  in  gold.  Of  this  sum 
$2500  is  used  to  meet  the  notes  held  by  the  manufacturer  who 
took  them  a  year  before  in  payment  for  the  implements  sold 
to  the  farmer.  Now,  can  the  manufacturer  buy  back  his 
implements  with  $2500  in  gold  ?  Manifestly  not,  for  by  the 
hypothesis  gold  has  gone  down.  Why,  then,  is  not  this 
manufacturer  a  sufferer  from  the  variation  in  the  standard  of 
value,  precisely  as  the  man  who  buys  cloth  with  a  short  yard- 
stick and  sells  it  with  a  long  one  is  a  sufferer  from  the  varia- 
tion in  the  standard  of  length  ?  The  claim  that  a  standard 
of  value  varies,  and  inflicts  damage  by  its  variations,  is  perfectly 
sound  ;  but  the  same  is  true,  not  only  of  the  standard  of  value, 
but  of  every  valuable  commodity  as  well.  Even  if  there  were 
no  standard  of  value  and  therefore  no  money,  still  nothing 
could  prevent  a  partial  failure  of  the  wheat  crop  from  enhanc- 
ing the  value  of  every  bushel  of  wheat.  Such  evils,  so  far  as 
they  arise  from  natural  causes,  are  in  the  nature  of  inevitable 
disasters  and  must  be  borne.  But  they  are  of  no  force  what- 
ever as  an  argument  against  the  adoption  of  a  standard  of 
value.  If  every  yardstick  in  existence,  instead  of  constantly 
remaining  thirty-six  inches  long,  were  to  vary  from  day  to  day 
within  the  limits  of  thirty-five  and  thirty-seven  inches,  we 
should  still  be  better  off  than  with  no  yardstick  at  all.  But  it 
would  be  no  more  foolish  to  abolish  the  yardstick  because  of 
such  a  defect  than  it  would  be  to  abolish  the  standard  of  value, 
and  therefore  money,  simply  because  no  commodity  can  be 
found  for  a  standard  which  is  not  subject  to  the  law  of  supply 
and  demand. 


[Liberty^  June  27,  1891.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

It  is  not  only  a  delusion,  but  a  misuse  of  language,  to  talk  of  a  "stand- 
ard of  value."  Give  us  a  standard  of  pain  or  pleasure,  and  you  may 
convince  us  that  there  can  be  a  "standard  of  value."  I  am  well  aware 
of  the  difficulty  of  discussing  this  question,  even  with  so  precise  an  editor 
as  Mr.  Tucker  ;  but  since  he  has  called  in  question  the  views  presented 
in  my  pamphlet,  I  feel  called  upon  to  lay  before  the  readers  of  Liberty 
some  additional  arguments  to  show  the  correctness  of  what  Mr.  Tucker 
has  honored  me  by  calling  "  the  Westrup  view." 


Let  US  Consider  for  a  moment  the  practical  workings  of  a  Mutual  Bank, 
as  near  as  we  can  foretell  them. 

The  incentive  to  organize  a  Mutual  Bank  is  the  opportunity  of  borrow- 
ing money  at  a  very  low  rate  of  interest  and  no  additional  expense.  This 
desideratum  is  not  confined  to  a  few  individuals,  but  is  well-nigh  uni- 
versal. It  follows,  therefore,  that  the  starting  of  a  bank  will  draw  to  it 
a  large  number  of  people,  embracing  producers  and  dealers  in  almost, 
perhaps  all,  commodities.  One  of  the  conditions  in  obtaining  the  notes 
(paper  money)  of  the  Mutual  Bank  is  that  they  will  be  taken  in  lieu  of 
current  money  without  variation  in  the  price  of  the  commodities  by  those 
who  borrow  them.  This  condition  is  just,  and  will  be  readily  acquiesced 
in  without  a  murmur.  At  the  very  outset  of  the  Mutual  Bank,  then,  we 
have  ^at  least  dealers  in  most  of  the  ordinary  commodities  who  will 
accept  its  money  in  place  of  current  money.  This  certainty  of  its 
redemption'  in  commodities  at  their  market-price  in  current  money 
guarantees  its  circulation. 

Strictly  speaking,  the  Mutual  Bank  does  not  issue  the  money  ;  it  simply 
furnishes  it  and  is  the  custodian  of  the  collateral  pledged  to  insure  its  re- 
turn.    It  is  the  borrowers  who  both  issue  and  redeem. 

The  transaction  between  the  bank  and  the  borrower  is  of  no  interest  to 
the  public  previous  to  the  issue  of  any  of  the  money  by  the  borrower. 
Neither  is  it  concerned  with  the  transaction  between  the  borrower  and  the 
bank  after  the  former  has  redeemed  a\\  the  money  he  borrowed. 

Discussing  theories  is  far  less  important  than  efforts  to  put  in  practice 
such  momentous  reforms  as  the  application  of  the  mutual  feature  to  the 
supply  of  the  medium  of  exchange.  If  Comrade  Tucker  really  desires  the 
establishment  of  Mutual  Banks,  it  seems  to  me  he  would  naturally  discuss 
the  practicability  of  such  institutions.  Let  him  point  out  wherein  the 
above  forecast  is  unsound.  Let  him  show  the  necessity  for  a  "  standard 
of  value  "  and  suggest  how  to  introduce  one  ;  perhaps  I  may  become  con- 
verted. I  shall  most  surely  acknowledge  my  error  if  I  am  convinced,  but 
I  have  no  time  or  inclination  to  discuss  any  abstract  theory  about  a 
"standard  of  value."  The  one  question  that  seems  to  me  of  importance 
is  the  practicability  of  the  Mutual  Bank.  If  it  is  not  practicable,  why  is  it 
not  so  ?  If  it  is,  why  waste  time  and  space  in  discussing  whether  the  first 
or  the  second  or  any  other  commodity  exchanged  becomes  the  •"  measure 
or  standard  of  value  " ;  especially  as  "the  whole  trouble  disappears  with 
the  abolition  of  the  basis  privilege." 

Alfred  B.  Westrup. 

Mr.  Westrup's  article  sustains  in  the  clearest  manner  my 
contention  that  money  is  impossible  without  a  standard  of 
value.  Starting  out  to  show  that  such  a  standard  is  a  delu- 
sion, he  does  not  succeed  in  writing  four  sentences  descrip- 
tive of  his  proposed  bank  before  he  adopts  that  "  delusion." 
He  tells  us  that  "  one  of  the  conditions  in  obtaining  the  notes 
(paper  money)  of  the  Mutual  Bank  is  that  they  will  be  taken 
in  lieu  of  current  money."  What  does  this  mean  ?  Why,  simply 
that  the  patrons  of  the  bank  agree  to  take  its  notes  as  the 
equivalent  of  gold  coin  of  the  same  face  value.  In  other 
words,  they  agree  to  adopt  gold  as  a  standard  of  value.  They 
will  part  with  as  much  property  in  return  for  the  notes  as  they 

258  INSTEAD  OS'  A  BOOK. 

would  part  with  in  return  for  gold.  And  if  there  were  no  such 
standard,  the  notes  would  not  pass  at  all,  because  nobody 
would  have  any  idea  of  the  amount  of  property  that  he  ought 
to  exchange  for  them.  The  «azw// with  which  Mr.  Westrup 
gives  away  his  case  shows  triumphantly  the  puerility  of  his 
raillery  at  the  idea  of  a  standard  of  value. 

Indeed,  Comrade  Westrup,  I  ask  nothing  better  than  to  dis- 
cuss the  practicability  of  mutual  banks.  All  the  work  that  I 
have  been  doing  for  liberty  these  nineteen  years  has  been 
directed  steadily  to  the  establishment  of  the  conditions  that 
alone  will  make  them  practicable.  I  have  no  occasion  to  show 
the  necessity  for  a  standard  of  value.  Such  necessity  is  al- 
ready recognized  by  the  people  whom  we  are  trying  to  con- 
vince of  the  truth  of  mutual  banking.  It  is  for  you,  who  deny 
this  necessity,  to  give  your  reasons.  And  in  the  very  moment 
in  which  you  undertake  to  tell  us  why  you  deny  it,  you  admit 
it  without  knowing  it.  It  would  never  have  occurred  to  me  to 
discuss  the  abstract  theory  of  a  standard  of  value.  I  regard 
it  as  too  well  settled.  But  when  you,  one  of  the  most  con- 
spicuous and  faithful  apostles  of  mutual  banking,  begin  to  bring 
the  theory  into  discredit  and  ridicule  by  basing  your  argu- 
ments in  its  favor  on  a  childish  attack  against  one  of  the 
simplest  of  financial  truths,  I  am  as  much  bound  to  repudiate 
your  heresy  as  an  engineer  would  be  to  disavow  the  calcula- 
tions of  a  man  who  should  begin  an  attempt  to  solve  a  difficult 
problem  in  engineering  by  denying  the  multiplication  table. 

I  fully  recognize  Mr.  Westrup's.  faithful  work  for  freedom 
in  finance  and  the  ability  with  which  he  often  defends  it.  In 
fact,  it  is  my  appreciation  of  him  that  has  prevented  nie  from 
criticising  his  error  earlier.  I  did  not  wish  to  throw  any  ob- 
stacle in  the  path  or  in  any  way  dampen  the  enthusiasm  of 
this  ardent  propagandist.  But  when  I  see  that  admirable 
paper,  Egoism,  of  San  Francisco,  putting  forward  those  writ- 
ings of  Mr.  Westrup  which  contain  the  objectionable  heresy  ;* 
and  when  I  see  that  other  admirable  paper,  The  Herald  of 
Anarchy,  of  London,  led  by  his  or  similar  ideas  to  advocate 
the  issue  of  paper  bearing  on  its  face  the  natural  prices  of  all 
commodities  (!);  and  when  I  see  Individualists  holding  Anar- 
chism responsible  for  these  absurdities  and  on  the  strength  of 
them  making  effective  attacks  upon  a  financial  theory  which, 
when  properly  defended,  is  invulnerable, — it  seems  high  time 
to  declare  that  the  free  and  mutual  banking  advocated  by 
Proudhon,  Greene,  and    Spooner   never   contemplated  for  a 

*  Egoism  later  saw  its  error,  and  recognized  the  necessity  of  a  stand- 
ard of  value. 


moment  the  desirability  or  the  possibility  of  dispensing  with  a 
standard  of  value.  If  others  think  that  a  standard  of  value  is 
a  delusion,  let  them  say  so  by  all  means;  but  let  them  not  say 
so  in  the  name  of  the  financial  theories  and  projects  which  the 
original  advocates  of  mutual  banking  gave  to  the  world. 


[Z/^^r/jj',  June  18,  1892.] 

Natural  science  and  technical  skill,  which  have  revolu- 
tionized so  many  things,  may  yet  revolutionize  political  econ- 
omy, and  in  a  way  little  dreamed  of.  It  has  long  been  known 
that  the  water  of  the  ocean  contains  gold  and  silver.  The 
percentage  of  these  metals,  however,  is  so  very  small  that  at 
first  thought  it  hardly  seems  worth  noticing.  And  as  a  matter 
of  fact  little  notice  has  been  taken  of  it,  but  principally  for 
the  reason  that  the  extraction  of  the  metals  by  any  advan- 
tageous method  has  been  deemed  an  impossibility.  Now 
comes  the  Fairy  Electricity,  whose  wand  has  already  achieved 
so  many  wonders,  and  promises  us  a  new  miracle,  which, 
though  possibly  less  strange  in  itself  than  some  others,  will  be 
more  far-reaching  in  its  results  than  all  the  telegraphs  and 
telephones  and  railways  imaginable.  She  proposes,  by  stretch- 
ing long  series  of  iron  plates  across  channels  and  through 
various  parts  of  the  seas  and  ocean  and  running  an  electric 
current  though  them,  to  precipitate  the  gold  and  silver  from 
the  water  upon  these  plates.  It  is  estimated  that  one-half  of 
one  horse  power  is  all  that  is  needed  for  the  purpose,  and  that 
it  will  consequently  be  possible  to  get  gold  in  this  way  at  a 
cost  equal  to  but  one  per  cent,  of  its  present  value. 

But  where  does  the  revolution  in  political  economy  come 
in  ?  some  one  may  ask.  Does  the  connection  seem  remote  to 
you,  my  thoughtless  friend  ?  Then  think  a  bit  and  listen. 
Every  ton  of  sea-water  contains  half  a  grain  of  gold  and  a 
grain  and  a  half  of  silver.  Has  that  an  insignificant  sound  ? 
If  so,  let  us  appeal  to  mathematics.  We  shall  find  that,  at 
the  rate  of  half  a  grain  of  gold  and  a  grain  and  a  half  of  silver 
to  each  ton  of  sea-water,  the  entire  seas  and  oceans  of  the 
world  (I  take  the  figures  from  a  scientific  journal)  contain 
21,595  billion  tons  of  gold  and  64,785  billion  tons  of  silver.  As 
good  fish  in  the  sea  as  ever  were  caught  ?  I  should  say  so, 
an(J  much  better !     Why,  this  means,  to  speak  at  a  venture, 

26o  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

that  there  is  several  billion  times  as  much  gold  in  the  water  as 
has  been  extracted  from  the  land  up  to  date.  Now,  if  this 
gold  can  be  taken  from  the  water,  as  is  claimed,  at  the  rate  of 
a  dollar's  worth  for  a  cent,  soon  it  will  be  scarcely  worth  its 
weight  in  good  rag-paper.  The  much  defamed  "  rag  baby  " 
will  be  a  very  aristocratic  personage  beside  it.  In  that  case 
what  will  become  of  "  the  metal  appointed  by  God  in  his  good- 
ness to  serve  as  the  currency  of  the  world"?  Would  it  be 
possible  to  more  thoroughly  revolutionize  political  economy 
than  by  dethroning  gold  ?  And  could  gold  be  more  effectually 
dethroned  than  by  reducing  its  value  to  insignificance  ?  Its 
monetary  privilege  would  disappear  instantly  and  of  necessity, 
and  the  era  of  free  money  would  dawn,  with  all  the  tremen- 
dous blessings,  physical,  mental,  and  moral,  that  must  follow  in 
its  wake.  As  Proudhon  well  says:  "The  demonetization  of 
gold,  the  last  idol  of  the  Absolute,  will  be  the  greatest  act  of 
the  revolution  of  the  future." 

All  hail,  then.  Electricity  !  On  with  your  magnificent  work! 
Lend  a  hand,  you  believers  in  dynamite;  we  offer  you  abetter 
saviour  !  This  good  fairy  is  carrying  on  a  "  propaganda  by 
deed "  that  discounts  all  your  Ravachols.  Success  to  her  ! 
May  she  force  gold,  the  last  bulwark  of  Archism,  to  become, 
through  offering  itself  for  sacrifice  on  the  altar  of  Liberty,  the 
greatest  of  Anarchists,  the  final  emancipator  of  the  race  ! 

Money,  said  Adam  Smith,  in  one  of  those  flashes  of  his  in- 
tellectual genius  which  have  so  illuminated  man's  economic 
path,  money  is  "  a  wagon-way  through  the  air."  If  Electricity 
shall  make  of  this  wagon-way  a  railway,  it  will  be  the  most 
signal,  the  most  useful  of  her  exploits. 


\Liherty^  August  13,  1892,] 

Apropos  of  my  editorial  of  a  few  weeks  ago,  forecasting  the 
probable  increase  in  the  supply  of  gold  through  its  extraction 
from  the  ocean  and  the  consequences  thereof.  Comrade  Koop- 
man  writes  me  :  "  If  this  is  so,  every  craft  that  sails  the  ocean 
blue  will  carry  an  electrical  centre-board  to  rake  in  the  gold 
as  it  sails  along.  I  am  afraid,  though,  that  the  governments 
will  betake  themselves  to  platinum  (I  believe  Russia  tried  it 
once)  or  some  other  figment,  and  so  postpone  their  day  of 
reckoning.     But  what  a  shaking-up  a  gold  deluge  will  give 

MONEY    AND    INTEREST.  26 1 

them  if  it  come  '  I  hope  we  may  be  there  to  see."  If  the 
present  adherence  lo  gold  were  anything  but  a  religion,  there 
would  be  some  ground  for  Comrade  Koopman's  fears.  But, 
so  far  as  the  people  is  concerned,  it  is  only  a  religion.  To 
uproot  the  idea  that  gold  is  divinely  appointed  to  serve  as  the 
money  of  the  world  is  to  destroy  the  godhead.  In  vain,  after 
that,  will  the  priests  of  plutocracy  propose  a  change  of  deities. 
The  people  will  say  to  them  :  "  If  you  lied  when  you  told  us 
that  gold  was  God,  you  are  lying  now  when  you  place  platinum 
on  the  celestial  throne.  No  more  idolatry  for  us  !  Hence- 
forth all  property  shall  stand  on  an  equality  before  the  Bank. 
In  demonetizing  gold  we  monetize  all  wealth."  The  Anarch- 
ists are  fighting  the  old,  old  battle, — the  battle  of  reason 
against  superstition.  In  the  earlier  phases  of  this  battle, 
science,  after  a  time,  re-enforced  the  philosophers  and  gave  the 
finishing  stroke  in  the  demolition  of  the  theological  god.  Per- 
haps it  is  reserved  for  science  to  similarly  re-enforce  the 
Anarchists  in  their  task  of  smashing  the  last  of  the  idols.  Of 
this,  however,  I  am  not  as  hopeful  as  I  was.  A  fact  has  lately 
come  to  light  that  fills  me  with  misgiving.  No  sooner  is  it 
proposed  to  begin  the  extraction  of  gold  and  silver  from  the 
ocean  by  the  new  and  cheap  method  than  a  man  pops  up  in 
England  to  say  that  he  patented  this  method  a  year  or  two 
ago.  If  his  patent  is  valid  (and  I  see  nothing  to  the  contrary), 
this  man  is  virtual  owner  of  the  entire  21  billion  tons  of  gold 
and  64  billion  tons  of  silver  which  the  ocean  contains.  All 
the  priests  and  bishops  and  archbishops  and  cardinals  of 
finance  must  kneel'  to  him  as  Pope.  "  Nearest,  my  God,  to 
Thee,"  will  be  his  hymn  henceforth,  or  rather  till  some  luckier 
individual  shall  discover  a  still  cheaper  way  of  securing  the 
ocean's  treasures  and  thereby  become  Pope  in  his  stead.  This 
one  perfectly  logical  and  appalling  possibility  ought  to  be  suf- 
ficient in  itself  to  sweep  away  as  so  much  cobweb  all  the  soph- 
istry that  has  ever  been  devised  in  support  of  property  in 
ideas.  Gold,  after  all,  is  not  the  last  of  the  idols  ;  in  mental 
property  it  has  a  twin.  And  my  remaining  hope  is  that  science, 
with  its  new  discovery,  may  do  double  duty  as  an  iconoclast, 
and  destroy  them  both  at  one  fell  stroke. 

262  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 


\Liberty,  November  23,  1889.] 

The  most  important  book  that  has  been  published  this  year 
comes  to  Liberty  from  the  press  of  the  J.  B.  Lippincott  Com- 
pany, of  Philadelphia.  It  is  a  little  volume  of  something  over 
a  hundred  very  small  pages,  printed  from  very  large  type.  For 
ten  years  to  come  it  probably  will  be  read  by  one  person 
where  "Looking  Backward"  is  read  by  a  thousand,  but  the 
economic  teaching  which  it  contains  will  do  more  in  the  long 
run  to  settle  the  labor  question  than  will  ever  be  done  by 
"  Looking  Backward,"  "  Progress  and  Poverty,"  and  "  The  Co- 
operative Commonwealth  "  combined.  Its  title  is  "  Involun- 
tary Idleness  :  An  Exposition  of  the  Cause  of  the  Discrep- 
ancy Existing  between  the  Supply  of,  and  the  Demand  for, 
Labor  and  Its  Products."  The  book  consists  of  a  paper  read 
at  the  meeting  of  the  American  Economic  Association  in 
Philadelphia  on  December  29,  1888,  by  Hugo  Bilgram,  the 
author  of  that  admirable  little  pamphlet,  "  The  Iron  Law  of 
Wages,"  with  which  most  readers  of  Liberty  are  familiar.  I 
am  strongly  inclined  to  hail  Mr.  Bilgram's  new  work  as  the 
best  treatise  on  money  and  the  relation  of  money  to  labor 
that  has  been  written  in  the  English  language  since  Colonel 
William  B.  Greene  published  his  "  Mutual  Banking." 

The  author  prefaces  his  essay  with  a  very  convenient  and 
carefully  prepared  skeleton  of  his  argument,  which  I  repro- 
duce here,  since  it  gives  a  much  better  idea  of  the  book  than 
any  condensation  that  I  might  attempt : 

The  aim  of  the  treatise  is  to  search  for  the  cause  of  the  lack  of  employ- 
ment, which  is  obviously  due  to  the  observed  fact  that  the  supply  of  com- 
modities and  services  exceeds  the  demand,  although  reason  dictates  that 
supply  and  demand  in  general  should  be  precisely  equal.  The  factor  de- 
stroying this  natural  equation  is  looked  for  among  the  conditions  that 
regulate  the  distribution  of  wealth, — i.e.,  its  division  into  Rent,  Interest, 
and  Wages. 

The  arguments  evolved  by  the  discussion  of  the  Rent  question,  which 
of  late  has  excited  much  public  interest,  being  unable  to  account  for  the 
apparent  surfeit  of  all  kinds  of  raw  materials,  the  topic  of  rent  is  elimi- 
nated by  assuming  all  local  advantages  to  be  equal. 

At  first  an  examination  is  made  of  the  relation  of  capital  to  the  pro- 
ductivity of  labor,  and  that  of  interest  on  capital  to  the  remuneration  for 
labor,  showing  that  high  interest  tends  to  reduce  the  productivity  of,  as 
well  as  the  remuneration  for,  labor.  Low  wages  being  also  concomitant 
with  a  scarcity  of  employment,  it  is  inferred  that  a  close  relation  exists  be- 
Vween  the  economic  cause  of  involuntary  idleness  and  the  law  of  Interest, 


Following  this  clue,  the  two  separate  meanings  of  the  ambiguous  word 
'•■  Capital"  are  compared,  showing  that  money,  which  can  never  be  used 
in  the  act  of  production,  cannot  be  capital  when  that  term  is  used  in  its 
concrete  sense  ;  and  since  capital  is  capable  of  producing  a  profit  only  when 
the  same  is  used  productively,  the  fact  that  interest  is  paid  for  money- 
loans,  when  that  which  is  loaned  cannot  be  used  productively,  must  be  traced 
to  an  independent  cause.  The  usual  argument  that  with  money  actual 
capital  can  be  purchased  is  rejected,  because  money  and  capital  would  not 
be  interchangeable  if  their  economic  properties  were  not  homogeneous. 
This  compels  a  search  for  a  property  inherent  in  money  that  can  account 
for  the  willingness  of  borrowers  to  pay  interest  on  money-loans. 

It  is  then  shown  that  interest  on  money-loans  is  paid  because  money 
affords  special  advantages  as  a  medium  of  exchange,  and  the  value  of  this 
property  of  money  is  traced  to  its  ultimate  utility,  or,  in  other  words,  to 
the  increment  of  productivity  which  the  last  addendum  to  the  volume  of 
money  affords  by  facilitating  the  division  of  labor. 

Returning  to  the  question  of  interest  on  actual  capital, — i.e.,  the  excess 
of  value  produced  over  the  cost  of  production, — the  question  as  to  what 
determines  the  value  of  a  product  leads  to  the  assertion  that  capital-profit 
must  be  due  to  an  advantage  which  the  producer  possesses  over  the  mar- 
ginal producer.  This  is  found  to  be  due  to  the  interest  payable  by  the 
marginal  producer  on  money-loans. 

An  ideal  separation  of  the  financial  from  the  industrial  world  reveals  a 
tendency  of  the  industrial  class  to  drift  into  bankruptcy  by  force  of  con- 
ditions over  which  they  have  no  control.  Those  who  are  at  the  verge  of 
bankruptcy  being  the  marginal  producers,  others  who  are  free  of  debt  will 
reap  a  profit  corresponding  to  the  interest  payable  by  the  marginal  pro- 
ducers on  debts  equal  to  the  value  of  the  capital  they  employ  ;  hence  the 
rate  of  capital-profit  will  tend  to  become  equal  to  the  rate  of  interest  pay- 
able on  money-loans,  and  the  power  of  money  to  command  interest,  in- 
stead of  being  the  result,  is  in  reality  the  cause  of  capital-profit. 

The  inability  of  the  debtor  class  to  meet  their  obligations  increases  the 
risk  of  business  investments,  and  the  accumulation  of  money  in  the  hands 
of  the  financial  class  depriving  the  channels  of  commerce  of  the  needed 
medium  of  exchange,  a  stagnation  of  business  will  ensue,  which  readily 
accounts  for  the  accumulation  of  all  kinds  of  products  in  the  hands  of  the 
producers  and  for  the  consequent  dearth  of  employment.  The  losses  sus- 
tained by  the  lenders  of  money  involve  a  separation  of  interest  into  two 
branches,  risk-premium  and  interest  proper,  and  considering  that  the 
risk-premiums  equal  the  sum  total  of  all  relinquished  debts,  the  law  of 
interest  is  evolved  by  an  analysis  of  the  monetary  circulation  between  the 
debtors  and  creditors. 

This  analysis  leads  to  the  inference  that  an  expansion  of  the  volume  of 
money,  by  extending  the  issue  of  credit-money,  will  prevent  business 
stagnation  and  involuntary  idleness. 

The  objections  usually  urged  against  credit-money  are  considered  and 
found  untenable,  the  claim  that  interest  naturally  accrues  to  capital  is  dis- 
puted at  each  successive  stand-point,  and  in  the  concluding  remarks  an 
explanation  is  given  of  the  present  excess  of  supply  over  the  demand  of 
commodities  and  service,  confirming  the  conclusion  that  the  correction  of 
this  abnormal  state  is  contingent  upon  the  financial  measure  suggested. 

Admirably  accurate  as  the  foregoing  is  as  an  outline,  it  con- 
veys only  a  faint  idea  of  the  beautifully  calm,  logical,  and 
convincing  way  in  which  the  argument  is  worked  out  and  sus- 

264  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

tained.  It  seems  impossible  that  any  unbiased  mind  should 
follow  the  author's  reasoning  carefully  from  the  start  to  the 
finish  and  not  accept  the  conclusion  which  he  reaches  in  com- 
mon with  Liberty, — namely,  that  our  financial  legislation  is  the 
real  seat  of  the  prevailing  social  disorder,  and  that  the  only 
way  to  secure  remunerative  employment  to  all  who  are  able 
and  willing  to  work  is  to  abolish  the  restrictions  upon  the 
issue  of  money. 

Moreover,  the  author  not  only  establishes  the  strength  of 
his  own  position,  but  throws  numerous  and  powerful  side- 
lights upon  the  weaknesses  of  others.  He  shows  the  inade- 
quacy of  Henry  George's  theory  as  an  explanation  of  enforced 
idleness,  the  futility  of  protection,  tariff  reform,  factory  acts, 
and  anti-immigration  laws  as  measures  of  relief  from  stagna- 
tion of  commerce,  and  the  absurdity  of  the  fiat-money  theo- 
rists and  all  who  hold  with  them  that  the  value  of  money  is 
dependent  upon  its  volume.  If  Mr.  Lloyd,  who  lately  pro- 
posed the  use  of  communistic  credit-money,  will  get  Mr.  Bil- 
gram's  book  and  carefully  read  pages  64-77  inclusive,  I  think 
he  will  be  satisfied  of  the  unsoundness  of  any  credit-money 
system  that  does  not  specifically  assure  the  ultimate  redemp- 
tion of  each  note  by  value  pledged  for  its  security. 

Having  thus  declared  my  high  appreciation  of  this  book,  I 
may  add  a  word  or  two  by  way  of  criticism.  The  policy  of 
the  author  in  abandoning  what  he  himself  considers  the  true 
definition  of  the  word  capital  and  adopting  the  definition 
generally  sanctioned  by  the  economists  is  of  very  questionable 
utility.  •  It  is  true  that  he  does  not  allow  this  confessed  mis- 
use of  a  word  to  vitiate  his  argument,  but  it  forces  him  never- 
theless to  separate  capital  from  money  ;  and  thereby  he 
strengthens  the  hold  of  the  delusion  which  is  exploited  so 
effectively  by  the  champions  of  interest, — namely,  that  in  an 
exchange  of  goods  for  money  the  man  who  parts  with  the 
goods  is  deprived  of  capital  while  the  man  who  parts  with 
the  money  is  not.  If  Mr.  Bilgram  had  used  the  word  capital 
to  mean  wjiat  he  thinks  it  means, — all  wealth  capable  of 
bringing  a  revenue  to  its  owner, — he  would  have  deprived 
his  opponents  of  their  favorite  device  for  confusing  the  popu- 
la:r  mind. 

But  this  is  a  question  of  words  only.  It  involves  no  differ- 
ence of  idea  between  Mr.  Bilgram  and  Liberty.  On  another 
point,  however,  there  is  substantial  disagreement.  When  Mr. 
Bilgram  proposes  that  the  government  shall  carry  on  (and  pre- 
sumably monopolize,  though  this  is  not  clearly  stated)  the 
business  of  issuing  money,  it  is  hardly  necessary  to  say  that 


Liberty  cannot  follow  him.  It  goes  with  him  in  his  economy, 
but  not  in  his  politics.  There  are  at  least  three  valid  reasons, 
and  doubtless  others  also,  why  the  government  should  do 
nothing  of  the  kind. 

First,  the  government  is  a  tyrant  living  by  theft,  and  there- 
fore has  no  business  to  engage  in  any  business. 

Second,  the  government  has  none  of  the  characteristics  of 
a  successful  business  man,  being  wasteful,  careless,  clumsy,  and 
short-sighted  in  the  extreme. 

Third,  the  government  is  thoroughly  irresponsible,  having 
it  in  its  power  to  effectively  repudiate  its  obligations  at  any 

With  these  qualificatious  Liberty  gives  Mr.  Bilgram's  book 
enthusiastic  welcome.  Its  high  price,  $i.oo,  will  debar  many 
from  reading  it ;  but  money  cannot  be  expended  more  wisely 
than  in  learning  the  truth  about  money. 


\Liberty^  February  15,   1890.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

In  view  of  the  favorable  criticism  which  "Involuntary  Idleness"  re- 
ceived at  your  hands,  I  gladly  accept  the  invitation  to  state  my  reasons 
for  advocating  governmental  management  of  the  circulating  medium, 
rather  than  free  banking. 

My  studies  have  led  me  to  the  conviction  that  mutual  banking  cannot 
deprive  capital  of  its  power  to  bring  unearned  returns  to  its  owner.  Re- 
ferring to  my  exposition  of  the  monetary  circulation  between  the  financial 
and  the  industrial  group,  and  the  inevitable  effects  flowing  from  the  power 
of  money  to  bring  a  persistent  revenue,  it  follows  that  a  normal  condition 
can  only  be  attained  if  interest  on  money  loans  is  reduced  to  the  rate  of 
risk,  so  that,  in  the  aggregate,  interest  will  just  pay  for  the  losses  incurred 
by  bad  debts  ;  and  this  desideratum  will  not  result  from  mutual  banking. 

The  members  of  such  banks  must  no  doubt  be  in  some  way  assessed  to 
defray  the  expenses  and  losses  incurred  by  the  banking  associations,  and 
these  assessments  are  virtually  interest  payable  for  the  loan  of  mutual 
money.  While  these  rates  are  lower  than  the  current  rates  of  the  money- 
lenders, the  mutual  banks  will  be  more  and  more  patronized,  which  will 
have  a  depressing  effect  on  the  current  rate  of  interest.  But  the  increase 
of  membership  will  cease  as  soon  as  the  current  rate  has  adapted  itself  to 
the  rate  payable  to  the  mutual  banks. 

We  must  now  assume  that  the  assessments  of  the  mutual  banks  are  in 
substance  equitably  distributed  among  their  members  ;  otherwise.  Such 
banks  cannot  compete  against  others  who  have  adopted  the  more 
equitable  rules.  These  assessments  must  obviously  cover  not  only  the 
expenses  of  the  banks,  but  also  occasional  losses  ;  and  that  such  losses 
should  be  assessed  in  proportion  to  the  rate  of  risk  attached  to  the 

266  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK, 

security  each  "borrower  "  offers  for  the  faithful  redemption  of  his  obliga- 
tion requires  here  no  explication.  But  other  outlays,  such  as  the  making 
of  the  notes,  together  with  all  the  attending  expenses,  must  also  be 
paid  by  the  members  of  the  mutual  banks,  and  this  increases  the  interest 
virtually  payable  by  the  borrowers  beyond  the  rate  of  risk.  Con- 
sequently competition  will  be  incompetent  to  lower  the  current  rate  of 
interest  to  this  desirable  point.  Money-lenders  will  therefore  still  be 
able  to  obtain  an  income  from  the  mere  loan  of  money,  and  capital  v\ill 
continue  to  return  interest  to  the  wealthy.  The  germ  of  the  inequitable 
congestion  of  wealth  will  still  linger  after  the  introduction  of  mutual 

At  this  point  the  question  arises  as  to  who  should  pay  for  that  part  of 
the  expenses  of  the  financial  system  that  relates  to  the  production  of  the 
money  tokens.  The  answer  is  not  difficult  when  it  is  considered  that 
the  benefit  of  the  medium  of  exchange  accrues  to  those  who  use  it. 
They  should  contribute,  as  near  as  possible,  in  the  proportion  in  which 
their  handling  wears  the  tokens,  for  in  the  long  run  the  cost  of  produc- 
tion will  virtually  resolve  itself  into  the  cost  of  replacement.  Not  the 
borrowers,  then,  who  as  members  of  the  mutual  banks  would  be  obliged 
to  do  so,  but  the  people  at  large,  in  whose  hands  the  money  circulates, 
are  in  equity  under  the  obligation  of  this  expense.  And  to  accomplish 
this  I  see  no  other  way  than  for  the  people  to  instruct  their  representa- 
tives to  make  the  notes  at  public  expense,  distribute  them  according  to 
the  demand,  and  charge  no  cost  to  the  borrowers  exceeding  the  rate  of 
risk  attached  to  the  securities  offered  by  them. 

I  should  of  course  never  attempt  to  deny  that  mutual  banking  would 
be  by  far  better  than  the  present  oppressive  system.  But  the  question 
at  issue  is  between  mutual  banking,  which  would  not  remove  but  only 
mitigate  the  source  of  involuntary  idleness,  and  a  system  involving  a 
complete  eradication  of  the  cause  of  the  discrepancy  of  the  supply  and 
the  demand  of  commodities.  My  preference  for  the  latter  does,  how- 
ever, not  imply  that  any  restrictions  should  be  placed  upon  mutual 
banking ;  such  institutions  could  for  obvious  reasons  not  compete 
against  the  government  institution,  and  would  fail  to  find  a  suitable  soil 
for  their  growth. 

Before  concluding  I  also  wish  to  meet  the  objection  of  the  critic  of 
"  Involuntary  Idleness  "  to  the  use  of  the  word  "  Capital  "  in  its  con- 
crete sense.  Having  frequent  occasion  to  refer  to  "  labor  products  used 
for  further  production  "  in  contradistinction  to  "  money,"  I  elected  to 
use  the  shorter  term  "  capital,"  especially  as  I  had  no  need  to  refer, 
during  the  discussion,  to  its  other  and  perhaps  more  appropriate  meaning. 
I  attempted  to  express  thoughts,  and  made  use  of  words  as  tools,  the 
selection  of  which  cannot  commit  me  to  any  opinion.  In  fact,  I  am 
convinced  that  "Capital  "  in  contradistinction  to  "  Wealth  "  must  lose 
its  significance  in  either  of  its  concepts  as  soon  as  the  people  learn  to  make 
honest  laws. 

Yours  truly,        Hugo  Bilgram. 
Philadelphia,  January  i8,  i8go. 

Mr.  Bilgram,  then,  if  I  understand  him,  prefers  government 
banking  to  mutual  banking,  because  with  the  former  the  rate 
of  discount  vi^ould  simply  cover  risk,  all  banking  expenses 
being  paid  out  of  the  public  treasury,  while  with  the  latter  the 
rate  of  discount  would  cover  both  risk  and  banking  expenses, 

MONEV   ANU   mtfiREST.  ijfi? 

which  in  his  opinion  would  place  the  burden  of  banking  ex- 
penses upon  the  borrowers  instead  of  upon  the  people.  The 
answer  to  this  is  simple  and  decisive  :  the  burden  of  discount, 
no  matter  what  elements,  many  or  few,  may  constitute  it,  falls 
ultimately,  under  any  system,  not  on  the  borrowers,  but  on  the 
people.  Broadly  speaking,  all  the  interest  paid  is  paid  by 
the  people.  Under  mutual  banking  the  expenses  of  the  banks 
would,  it  is  true,  be  paid  directly  by  the  borrowers,  but  the 
latter  would  recover  this  from  the  people  in  the  prices  placed 
upon  their  products.  And  it  seems  to  me  much  more  scien- 
tific that  the  people  should  thus  pay  these  expenses  through 
the  borrowers  in  the  regular  channels  of  exchange  than  that 
they  should  follow  the  communistic  method  of  paying  them 
through  the  public  treasury. 

Mr.  Bilgram's  statement  that  money-lenders  who,"  besides 
being  compensated  for  risk,  are  compensated  for  their  labor 
as  bankers  and  for  their  incidental  expenses  "  thereby  obtain 
an  income  from  the  mere  loan  of  money  "  is  incomprehensible 
to  me.  He  might  just  as  well  say  that  under  government 
banking  the  officials  who  should  receive  salaries  from  the 
treasury  for  carrying  on  the  business  would  thereby  obtain  an 
income  from  the  mere  loan  of  money.  Under  a  free  system 
the  banker  is  as*  simply  and  truly  paid  only  the  normal  wage 
of  his  labor  as  is  the  official  under  a  government  system. 

But,  since  Mr.  Bilgram  does  not  propose  to  place  any  re- 
striction upon  private  banking,  I  have  no  quarrel  with  him. 
He  is  welcome  to  his  opinion  that  private  banking  could  not 
compete  with  the  governmental  institution.  I  stoutly  .main- 
tain the  contrary,  and  the  very  existence  of  the  financial 
prohibitions  is  the  best  evidence  that  I  am  right.  That  which 
can  succeed  by  intrinsic  merit  never  seeks  a  legal  bolster. 

I  am  agreeably  disappointed.  In  challenging  Mr.  Bilgram 
on  this  point,  I,  knowing  his  intellectual  acumen,  had  braced 
myself  to  withstand  the  most  vigorous  onslaught  possible 
against  Anarchism  in  finance,  but  it  was  a  'needless  strain. 
Mr.  Bilgram  has  struck  me  with  a  feather. 

268  INSTEAD   Of   A   SOOK. 


\Liberty^  April  ig,  i8go.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

My  rejoinder  on  your  remarks  on  my  last  communication,  in  your 
issue  of  February  15,  was  unavoidably  delayed. 

Above  all,  I  must  admit  an  omission  in  my  exposition,  but,  since  it  was 
on  both  sides  of  the  question,  the  result  remains  unaffected.  I  had  paid 
no  attention  to  the  labor  involved  in  making  loans.  Including  this  ad- 
mitted factor,  my  argument  is  this :  The  expenses  of  mutual  banks  may  be 
divided  into  three  categories, — i.e.,  risks,  cost  of  making  loans,  and  cost 
of  making  the  tokens.  These  three  items  are  represented  in  the  interest 
payable  by  the  patrons  of  such  banks,  and,  while  they  determine  the 
current  rate  of  interest,  those  who  lend  money  which  they  have  acquired 
have  to  bear  only  two  of  these  items,  and  will  obtain  interest  composed 
of  the  three,  and  consequently  receive  pay  for  w6rk  they  have  not  per- 
formed. And  capital  having  the  power  of  bringing  an  unearned  income 
as  long  as  money  is  thus  blessed,  I  still  hold  that  justice  is  not  attained 
until  the  gross  interest  is  reduced  to  the  rate  of  risk  and  cost  of  mak- 
ing loans,  the  cost  of  making  the  tokens  being  defrayed  by  public 

Itcannot  be  denied  that  "the  burden  of  discount  falls  ultimately,  not 
on  the  borrowers,  but  on  the  people"  ;  the  trouble  is  that  the  people  are 
compelled  to  pay  more  than  this  discount,  and  my  desire  is  that  they 
should  cease  to  pay  this  excess  which  now  falls  into  the  hands  of  the 
owners  of  capital. 

Should  the  question  of  free  banking  become  a  political  issue,  I  should 
heartily  cooperate  with  you  in  furthering  the  object.  But  this  does  not 
prevent  me  from  advocating  a  government  issue,  provided  the  borrowers 
are  charged  no  more  than  risk  and  cost  of  making  the  loans,  as  a 
preferable  measure.     Yours  truly,  Hugo  Bilgram. 

Philadelphia,  March  31,  i8go. 

To  the  above  there  are  at  least  two  ansvi'ers.  The  first  is 
that  that  factor  in  the  rate  of  interest  which  represents  the 
cost  of  making  tokens  is  so  insignificant  (probably  less  than 
one-tenth  of  one  per  cent.,  guessing  at  it)  that  the  people 
could  well  afford  (if  there  were  no  alternative)  to  let  a  few  in- 
dividuals profit' to  that  extent  rather  than  suffer  the  enormous 
evils  that  result  from  transferring  enterprise  from  private 
to  government  control.  I  am  not  so  enamored  of  absolute 
equality  that  I  would  sacrifice  both  hands  rather  than  one 

The  second  answer  is  that  no  private  money-lenders  could, 
under  a  free  system,  reap  even  the  small  profit  referred  to. 
Mr.  Bilgram  speaks  of  "  those  who  lend  money  which  they 
have  acquired."  Acquired  how  ?  Any  money  which  they 
have  acquired  must  have  originated  with  issuers  who  paid  the 
cost  of  making  the  tokens,  and  every  time  it  has   changed 

M6kEY    AND    INTEREST.  2(J9 

hands  the  burden  of  this  cost  has  been  transferred  with  it. 
Is  it  likely  that  men  who  acquire  money  by  paying  this  cost 
will  lend  it  to  others  without  exacting  this  cost?  If  they 
should,  they  %vould  be  working  for  others  for  nothing, — a 
very  different  thing  from  "receiving  pay  for  work  they  had 
not  performed."  No  man  can  lend  money  unless  he  either 
issues  it  himself  and  pays  the  cost  of  making  the  tokens,  or 
else  buys  or  borrows  it  from  others  to  whom  he  must  pay 
that  cost. 


{Liberty,  December  13,  1884.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty : 

The  "Picket  Duty"  remarks  of  November  22  in  regard  to  the  importance 
of  "free  money"  (with  which  I  mainly  agree)  impel  me  to  say  a  few 
words  upon  the  subject.  It  is  desirable,  it  seems  to  me,  that  Liberty 
should  give  its  ideas  upon  that  subject  in  a  more  systematic  form  than  it 
has  yet  done  (i).  To  be  sure,  it  is  easy  for  those  who  think  to  see  that, 
if  all  laws  in  regard  to  money  were  abolished,  commerce  would  readily 
provide  its  instruments  of  exchange.  This  might  be  promissory  notes,  or 
warehouse  receipts,  bills  of  lading,  etc.;  but,  whatever  it  might  be,  the 
Anarchist  could  not  doubt  it  would  be  better  than  that  ever  issued  under 

Theoretically,  at  least,  Liberty\izs  expressed  the  idea  that  any  circulat- 
ing medium  should  be  made  redeemable  ;  but  in  what?  If  in  gold,  or  in 
gold  and  silver,  does  it  not  involve  the  principle  of  a  legal  tender,  or  of 
a  tender  of  "  common  consent?"  and  they  do  not  greatly  differ  (2).  It 
seems  to  me  that  the  great  fraud  in  regard  to  money  starts  just  here, 
and  vitiates  all  forms  of  finance  as  of  trade  (3).  I  define  money  to  be 
a  commodity  or  representative  of  a  commodity,  accepted  by  or  forced 
upon  the  common  consent,  asa»  invariable  ratio  and  medium  of  exchange. 
Now,  since  the  price  of  all  things  else  is  variable  and  subject  to  extreme 
fluctuations,  the  dollar  in  exchange,  and  especially  where  the  exchange 
is  suspended  as  in  borrowing,  or  buying  on  credit,  becomes,  as  friend 
Pink  suggests,  a  "war  club"  rather  than  a  tool  or  instrument  of 

Pardon  me  if  I  inflict  some  technicalities  upon  the  readers  of  lAberty. 
I  would  discard  the  use  of  the  word  value  from  questions  of  exchange,  or 
else  divide  its  several  parts,  as  value  in  use,  value  in  service  and  compen- 
sation, and  value  in  exchange.  But  ratio  is  a  much  better  word.  I 
would  then  define  the  Ratio  of  Utility  to  be  the  proportion  in  which  any 
thing  or  service  effects  useful  ends,  in  sustaining  human  life  or  adding  to 
human  enjoyment, —a  constant  Ratio. 

The  Ratio  of  Service,  the  proportion  in  which  different  services,  of  the 
same  duration  in  time,  effect  useftil  ends. 

The  Ratio  of  Exchange,  the  proportion  in  which  one  commodity  or 
service  will  exchange  for  another  service  or  commodity  at  the  same  time 
and  place.     This  is  a  variable  ratio,  whose  mean  is  the  ratio  of  service. 

270  INSTEAD   OF   A   BOOK. 

I  cannot  stop  now  to  argue  the  correctness  of  these  definitions.  It 
must  be  seen,  unless  a  commodity  could  be  found  which  would  answer 
every  useful  purpose,  and  could  be  readily  obtained  by  all,  it  could  not 
be  made  a  tender  without  inflicting  great  injustice  on  the  many.  But  as 
such  commodity  cannot  be  found,  a  commodity,  gold,  has  been  assumed 
to  have  an  invariable  value,  although  the  most  variable  in  value  of  all  the 
metals,  and  about  the  least  useful  ;  of  a  limited  and  irregular  production 
and  widely  varying  demand.  With  the  addition  of  silver  to  the  standard, 
the  great  injustice  to  labor  is  only  divided,  not  changed. 

As  defined  above,  the  only  invariable  ratio  is  that  of  use.  A  pound  of 
flour  of  the  same  quality  will  at  all  times  and  places  satisfy  the  same  de- 
mand for  food.  The  hundredweight  of  coal  will  at  all  times  and  places 
give  off  the  same  amount  of  heat  in  combustion,  etc.,  having  no  reference 
either  to  the  money  or  labor  cost.  Now,  since  labor  is  the  only  thing 
which  can  procure  or  produce  articles  of  use,  that  is  naturally  the  con- 
trolling element  in  exchange,  and  the  only  thing  that  commands  a  stable 
price  or  furnishes  a  stable  ratio. 

Though  gold  is  assumed  as  the  standard  of  value,  it  is  well  known  that 
for  ages  the  "  promise  to  pay  "  this  has  constituted  mainly  the  currency 
and  medium  of  exchange  of  most  nations. 

The  method  of  issuing  this  promissory  money  has  been  a  great  injustice 
to  industry,  and  its  almost  infinite  extension  of  the  usurpation  of  the  gold- 
tender  fraud  is  now  robbing  labor  of  a  large  share  of  its  production  by  the 
control  it  gives  to  the  usurer  and  speculator,  who  can  make  the  rate  low 
when  produce  is  coming  under  their  control,  and  high  when  it  is  being  re- 
turned for  use  to  the  people  ;  and  can  make  money  scarce  and  dear  when 
they  loan  it,  and  plenty  and  cheap  when  they  gather  it  in. 

I  think  I  have  shown  that  the  base  of  the  money  evil  lies  mainly  in  the 
monstrous  assumption  that  the  value  of  one  of  the  most  variable  of  things 
should  be  assumed  to  be  an  invariable  quantity,  and  the  standard  of  meas- 
urement of  all  other  things.  A  gum  elastic  yardstick  or  gallon  measure, 
or  a  shifting  scale-beam,  would  suggest  far  more  equitable  dealing. 

I  know  of  but  one  invariable  standard,  and  that  is  labor  ;  but  what  is 
its  unit?  And  by  what  method  shall  it  be  expressed?  Can  Liberty  give 
us  light  upon  this  subject  ?  (4)  I  have  yet  seen  no  feasible  method  by 
which  credit  or  debt  can  serve  safely  as  money,  nor  any  honest  way  in 
which  fiat  money  can  be  put  in  circulation.  It  appears  to  me  now 
that,  while  men  seek  credit,  they  will  have  to  pay  interest,  and  that  only 
by  restoring  opportunity  to  those  who  are  now  denied  it  by  our  monopo- 
lies of  land,  of  money,  and  of  public  franchises,  and  so  relieving  them  of 
the  necessity  of  borrowing,  can  we  hope  to  mitigate  the  evils  of  our  money 
and  trade  iniquities.  (5) 

Credit  being  an  incompleted  exchange,  in  which  one  of  the  equivalents 
is  not  transferred,  if  we  are  to  acknowledge  it  as  an  economic  transaction, 
I  see  not  why  we  should  not  accept  that  also  where  neither  of  the  equiva- 
lents are  transferred,  as  in  produce  and  stock-gambling.  (6)  McLeod,  I 
think,  saw  this  dilemma,  and  therefore  holds  that  the  negotiable  promis- 
sory note  is  payment  for  the  things  for  which  it  is  given.  Yet,  neverthe- 
less, at  maturity  it  will  require  a  transfer  of  the  counterbalancing  equiv- 
alent, just  the  same  as  if  a  mere  book  account. 

Credit  is  doubtless  necessary  under  an  inverted  system  of  industry, 
finance,  and  trade  ;  but  I  am  unable  to  see  that  it  has  any  place  in  an  honest 
state  of  things,  except  to  conserve  value,  as  where  one  puts  things  in  an- 
other's care.  It  is  vastly  convenient,  no  doubt,  for  the  profit-monger  and 
speculator,  as  for  the  usurer,  and  witliout  it  neither  could  well  thrive.     In 

MiDisTEY  AfJb  interest:'.  S7I 

agreeing  with  the  Anarchists  that  the  State  should  not  interfere  to  prevent, 
regulate,  or  enforce  credit  contracts,  perhaps  I  go  beyond  them  in  exclud- 
ing it  from  any  economic  recognition  whatever,  except  as  a  means  of  con- 
serving goods  from  decay  and  depreciation,  involving  always  a  service  for 
which  the  creditor  should  pay. 

J.  K.  Ingalls. 

(i)  Liberty  is  published  not  so  much  to  thoroughly  inform  its 
readers  regarding  the  ideas  which  it  advocates  as  to  interest 
them  to  seek  this  thorough  information  through  other  chan- 
nels. For  instance,  in  regard  to  free  money,  there  is  a  book — 
"  Mutual  Banking,"  by  William  B.  Greene — which  sets  forth 
the  evils  of  money  monopoly  and  the  blessings  of  gratuitous 
credit  in  a  perfectly  plain  and  convincing  way  to  all  who  will 
take  the  pains  to  study  and  understand  it.  Liberty  can  only 
state  baldly  the  principles  which  Greene  adyocates  and  hint 
at  some  of  their  results.  Whomsoever  such  statements  and 
hints  serve  to  interest  can  and  wiH  secure  the  book  of  me  for  a 
small  sum.  Substantially  the  same  views,  presented  in  differ- 
ent ways,  are  to  be  found  in  the  financial  writings  of  Lysander 
Spooner,  Stephen  Pearl  Andrews,  Josiah  Warren,  and,  above 
all,  P.  J.  Proudhon,  whose  untranslated  works  contain  untold 
treasures,  which  I  hope  some  day  to  put  within  the  reach  of 
English  readers. 

(2)  Yes,  it  does  involve  one  of  these,  but  between  the  two 
there  is  all  the  difference  that  there  is  between  force  and  free- 
dom, authority  and  liberty.  And  where  the  tender  is  one  of 
"common  consent,"  those  who  do  not  like  it  are  at  liberty  to 
consent  in  common  to  use  any  other  and  better  one  that  they 
can  devise. 

(3)  It  is  difficult  for  me  to  see  any  fraud  in  promising  to 
pay  a  certain  thing  in  a  certain  time,  or  on  demand,  and  keeping 
the  promise.  That  is  what  we  do  when  we  issue  redeemable 
money  and  afterwards  redeem  it.  The  fraud  in  regard  to 
money  consists  not  in  this,  but  in  limiting  by  law  the  security 
for  these  promises  to  pay  to  a  special  kind  of  property,  limited 
in  quantity  and  easily  monopolizable. 

(4)  It  is  doubtful  if  there  is  anything  more  variable  in  its 
purchasing  power  than  labor.  The  causes  of  this  are  partly 
natural,  such  as  the  changing  conditions  of  production,  and 
partly  and  principally  artificial,  such  as  the  legal  monopolies 
that  impart  fictitious  values.  But  labor  expended  in  certain 
directions  is  unquestionably  more  constant  in  its  average  re- 
sults than  when  expended  in  other  directions.  Hence  the  ad- 
vantage of  using  the  commodities  resulting  from  the  former  for 
the  redemption  of  currency  whenever  redemption  shall  be  de- 

4(/2  INSTEAD   6i?    A   fedOK. 

manded.  Whether  gold  and  silver  are  among  these  commd- 
dities  is  a  question,  not  of  principle,  but  of  statistics.  As  a 
matter  of  fact,  the  holders  of  good  redeemable  money  seldom 
ask  for  any  other  redemption  than  its  acceptance  in  the  mar- 
ket and  its  final  cancellation  by  the  issuer's  restoration  of  the 
securities  on  which  it  was  issued.  But  in  case  any  other  re- 
demption is  desired,  it  is  necessary  to  adopt  for  the  purpose 
some  commodity  easily  transferable  and  most  nearly  invariable 
in  value. 

(5)  Does  Mr.  Ingalls  mean  that  all  money  must  be  abolished  ? 
I  can  see  no  other  inference  from  his  position.  For  there 
are  only  two  kinds  of  money, — commodity  money  and  credit 
money.  The  former  he  certainly  does  not  believe  in,  the 
latter  he  thinks  fraudulent  and  unsafe.  Are  we,  then,  to  stop 
exchanging  the  products  of  our  labor  ? 

(6)  It  is  clearly  the  right  of  every  man  to  gamble  if  he 
chooses  to,  and  he  has  as  good  a  right  to  make  his  bets  on  the 
rise  and  fall  of  grain  prices  as  on  anything  else  ;  only  he  must 
not  gamble  with  loaded  dice,  or  be  allowed  special  privileges 
whereby  he  can  control  the  price  of  grain.  Hence,  in  a  free 
and  open  market,  these  transactions  where  neither  equiva- 
alent  is  transferred  are  legitimate  enough.  But  they  are  un- 
wise, because,  apart  from  the  winning  or  losing  of  the  bet, 
there  is  no  advantage  to  be  gained  from  them.  Transactions, 
on  the  other  hand,  in  which  only  one  equivalent  is  immedi- 
ately transferred  are  frequently  of  the  greatest  advantage,  as 
they  enable  men  to  get  possession  of  tools  which  they  imme- 
diately need,  but  cannot  immediately  pay  for.  Of  course  the 
promise  to  pay  is  liable  to  be  more  or  less  valuable  at  ma- 
turity than  when  issued,  but  so  is  the  property  originally 
transferred.  The  borrower  is  no  more  exempt  than  the 
lender  from  the  variations  in  value.  And  the  interests  of  the 
holder  of  property  who  neither  borrows  nor  lends  is  also  just 
as  much  affected  by  them.  There  is  an  element  of  chance  in 
all  property  relations.  So  far  as  this  is  due  to  monopoly  and 
privilege,  we  must  do  our  best  to  abolish  it  ;  so  far  as  it  is 
natural  and  inevitable,  we  must  get  along  with  it  as  best  we  can, 
but  not  be  frightened  by  it  into  discarding  credit  and  money, 
the  most  potent  instruments  of  association  and  civilization. 

MONEV   Al^D   INTEREST.  i^^ 


ILiierty,  March  27,  1886.] 

J.  M.  M'Gregor,  a  writer  for  the  Detroit  Labor  Leaf,  thinks 
free  land  the  chief  desideratum.  And  yet  he  acknowledges 
that  the  wage-worker  can't  go  from  any  of  our  manufactur- 
ing centres  to  the  western  lands,  because  "  such  a  move 
would  involve  a  cash  outlay  of  a  thousand  dollars,  which  he 
has  not  got,  nor  can  he  get  it."  It  would  seem,  then,  that 
free  land,  though  greatly  to  be  desired,  is  not  as  sorely  needed 
here  and  now  as  free  capital.  And  this  same  need  of  capital 
would  be  equally  embarrassing  if  the  eastern  lands  were  free, 
for  still  more  capital  would  be  required  to  stock  and  work  a 
farm  than  the  wage-worker  can  command.  Under  our  present 
money  system  he  could  not  even  get  capital  by  putting  up  his 
farm  as  collateral,  unless  he  would  agree  to  pay  a  rate  of  in- 
terest that  would  eat  him  up  in  a  few  years.  Therefore,  free 
land  is  of  little  value  to  labor  without  free  capital,  while  free 
capital  would  be  of  inestimable  benefit  to  labor  even  if  land 
should  not  be  freed  for  some  time  to  come.  For  with  it  labor 
could  go  into  other  industries  on  the  spot  and  achieve  its  inde- 
pendence. Not  free  land,  then,  but  free  money  is  the  chief 
desideratum.  It  is  in  the  perception  of  this  prime  importance 
of  the  money  question  that  the  greenbackers,  despite  their  ut- 
terly erroneous  solution  of  it,  show  their  marked  superiority  to 
the  State  Socialists  and  the  land  nationalizationists. 

The  craze  to  get  people  upon  the  land  is  one  of  the  insan- 
ities that  has  dominated  social  reformers  ever  since  social  re- 
form was  first  thought  of.  It  is  a  great  mistake.  Of  agricul- 
ture it  is  as  true  as  of  every  other  industry  that  there  should 
be  as  few  people  engaged  in  it  as  possible, — that  is,  just  enough 
to  supply  the  world  with  all  the  agricultural  products  which 
it  wants.  The  fewer  farmers  there  are,  after  this  point  of 
necessary  supply  is  reached,  the  more  useful  people  there  are 
to  engage  in  other  industries  which  have  not  yet  reached  this 
point,  and  to  devise  and  work  at  new  industries  hitherto  un- 
thought  of.  It  is  altogether  likely  that  we  have  too  many 
farmers  now.  It  is  not  best  that  any  more  of  us  should  be- 
come farmers,  even  if  every  homestead  could  be  made  an 
Arcadia.  The  plough  is  very  well  in  its  way,  and  Arcadia  was 
very  well  in  its  day.  But  the  way  of  the  plough  is  not  as  wide 
as  the  world,  and  the  world  has  outgrown  the  day  of  Arcadia. 
Human  life  henceforth  is  to  be,  not  a  simple,  but  a  complex 

if 4  mfetEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

thing.  The  wants  and  aspirations  of  mankind  are  daily  mul- 
tiplying. They  can  be  satisfied  only  by  the  diversification  of 
industry,  which  is  the  method  of  progress  and  the  record  of 
civilization.  This  is  one  of  the  great  truths  which  Lysander 
Spooner  has  so  long  been  shouting  into  unwilling  ears.  But 
the  further  diversification  of  industry  in  such  a  way  as  to  bene- 
fit, no  longer  the  few  and  the  idle,  but  the  many  and  the 
industrious,  depends  upon  the  control  of  capital  by  labor. 
And  this,  as  Proudhon,  Warren,  Greene,  and  Spooner  have 
shown,  can  be  secured  only  by  a  free  money  system. 


[Liierly,  May  i,  1886.] 

In  answer  to  my  article,  "  Free  Money  First,"  in  Liberty  of 
March  27,  in  which  was  discussed  the  comparative  impor- 
tance of  the  money  and  land  questions,  J.  M.  M'Gregor,  of 
the  Detroit  Labor  Leaf,  says  :  "  I  grant  free  money  first.  I 
firmly  believe  free  money  will  come  first,  too,  though  my 
critic  and  myself  may  be  widely  at  variance  in  regard  to  what 
would  constitute  free  money."  I  mean  by  free  money  the 
utter  absence  of  restriction  upon  the  issue  of  all  money  not 
fraudulent.  If  Mr.  M'Gregor  believes  in  this,  I  am  heartily 
glad.  I  should  like  to  be  half  as  sure  as  he  is  that  it  really  is 
coming  first.  From  the  present  temper  of  the  people  it  looks 
to  me  as  if  nothing  free  would  come  first.  They  seem  to  be 
bent  on  trying  every  form  of  compulsion.  In  this  current  Mr. 
M'Gregor  is  far  to  the  fore  with  his  scheme  of  land  taxation 
on  the  Henry  George  plan,  and  although  he  may  believe  free 
money  will  be  first  in  time,  he  clearly  does  not  consider  it  first 
in  importance.  This  last-mentioned  priority  he  awards  to 
land  reform,  and  it  was  his  position  in  that  regard  that  my 
article  was  written  to  dispute. 

The  issue  between  us,  thus  confined,  hangs  upon  the  truth 
or  falsity  of  Mr.  M'Gregor's  statement  that  "  to-day  landlord- 
ism, through  rent  and  speculation,  supports  more  idlers  than 
any  other  system  of  profit-robbing  known  to  our  great  common- 
wealth." I  take  it  that  Mr.  M'Gregor,  by  "rent,"  means 
ground-rent  exclusively,  and,  by  the  phrase  "  supports  more 
idlers,"  means  takes  more  from  labor  ;  otherwise,  his  state- 
ment has  no  pertinence  to  his  position.  For  all  rent  except 
ground-rent  would  be  almost  entirely  and   directly  abolished 

MONEY    AND    INTEREST.  2']^ 

by  free  money,  and  the  evil  of  rent  to  labor  depends,  not  so 
much  on  the  number  of  idlers  it  supports,  as  on  the  aggregate 
amount  and  quality  of  support  it  gives  them,  whether  they  be 
many  or  few  in  number.  Mr.  M'Gregor's  statement,  then, 
amounts  to  this  :  that  ground-rent  takes  more  from  labor  than 
any  other  form  of  usury.  It  needs  no  statistics  to  disprove 
this.  The  principal  forms  of  usury  are  interest  on  money 
loaned  or  invested,  profits  made  in  buying  and  selling,  rent  of 
buildings  of  all  sorts,  and  ground-rent.  A  moment's  reflection 
will  show  any  one  that  the  amount  of  loaned  or  invested  capi- 
tal bearing  interest  in  this  country  to-day  far  exceeds  in  value 
the  amount  of  land  yielding  rent.  The  item  of  interest  alone 
is  a  much  more  serious  burden  on  the  people  than  that  of 
ground-rent.  Much  less,  then,  does  ground-rent  equal  interest 
p/us  profit  plus  rent  of  buildings.  But  to  make  Mr.  M'Gregor's 
argument  really  valid  it  must  exceed  all  these  combined.  For 
a  true  money  reform,  I  repeat,  would  abolish  almost  entirely 
and  directly  every  one  of  these  forms  of  usury  except  ground- 
rent,  while  a  true  land  reform  would  directly  abolish  only 
ground-rent.  Therefore,  unless  labor  pays  more  in  ground-rent 
than  in  interest,  profit,  and  rent  of  buildings  combined,  the 
money  question  is  of  more  importance  than  the  land  question. 
There  are  countries  where  this  is  the  case,  but  the  United  States 
is  not  one  of  them. 

It  should  also  be  borne  in  mind  that  free  money,  in  destroy- 
ing the  power  to  accumulate  large  fortunes  in  the  ordinary 
industries  of  life,  will  put  a  very  powerful  check  upon  the 
scramble  for  corner-lots  and  other  advantageous  positions,  and 
thereby  have  a  considerable  influence  upon  ground-rent  itself. 

"  How  can  capital  be  free,"  asks  Mr.  M'Gregor,  "  when  it 
cannot  get  rid  of  rent  ?  "  It  cannot  be  entirely  free  till  it  can 
get  rid  of  rent  ;  but  it  will  be  infinitely  freer  if  it  gets  rid  of 
iriterest,  profit,  and  rent  of  buildings  and  still  keeps  ground- 
rent  than  if  it  gets  rid  of  ground-rent  and  keeps  the  other 
forms  of  usury.  Give  us  free  money,  the  first  great  step  to 
Anarchy,  and  we'll  attend  to  ground-rent  afterwards. 



\_Liierty,  June  28,  1884.] 

The  persistent  way  in  which  Greenbackers  dodge  argument 
on  the  money  question  is  very  tiresome  to  a  reasoning  mortal. 
Let  an  Anarchist  give  a  Green  backer  his  idea  of  a  good  cur- 
rency in  the  issue  of  which  no  government  has  any  part,  and  it 
is  ten  to  one  that  he  will  answer:  "  Oh,  that's  not  money.  It 
isn't  legal  tender.  Moiiey  is  that  thing  which  the  supreme 
law  of  the  land  declares  to  be  legal  tender  for  debts  in  the 
country  where  that  law  is  supreme." 

Brick  Pomeroy  made  such  an  answer  to  Stephen  Pearl 
Andrews  recently,  and  appeared  to  think  that  he  had  said 
something  final.  Now,  in  the  first  place,  this  definition  is  not 
correct,  for  that  is  money  which  performs  the  functions  of 
money,  no  matter  who  issues  it.  But  even  if  it  were  correct, 
of  what  earthly  consequence  could  it  be  ?  Names  are  nothing. 
Who  cares  whether  the  Anarchistic  currency  be  called  money 
or  something  else  ?  Would  it  make  exchange  easy  ?  Would 
it  make  production  active  ?  Would  it  measure  prices  accu- 
rately ?  Would  it  distribute  wealth  honestly?  Those  are  the 
questions  to  be  asked  concerning  it ;  not  whether  it  meets 
the  arbitrary  definition  adopted  by  a  given  school.  A  system 
of  finance  capable  of  supplying  a  currency  satisfying  the  above 
requirements  is  a  solution  of  what  is  generally  known  as  the 
money  question  ;  and  Greenbackers  may  as  well  quit  now  as 
later  trying  to  bind  people  to  this  fact  by  paltry  quibbling 
with  words. 

But  after  thus  rebuking  Brick  Pomeroy's  evasion  of  Mr. 
Andrews,  something  needs  to  be  said  in  amendment  of  Mr. 
Andrews's  position  as  stated  by  him  in  an  admirable  article 
on  "  The  Nature  of  Money,"  published  in  the  New  York 
Truth  Seeker  of  March  8,  1884.  Mr.  Andrews  divides  the 
properties  of  money  into  essentials,  incidentals,  and  acciden- 
tals. The  essential  properties  of  money,  he  says, — those  in 
the  absence  of  which  it  is  not  money  whatever  else  it  may 
have,  and  in  the  possession  of  which  it  is  money  whatever  else 
it  may  lack, — are  those  of  measuring  mutual  estimates  in  an 
exchange,  recording  a  commercial  transaction,  and  inspiring 
confidence  in  a  promise  which  it  makes.  All  other  properties 
of  money  Mr.  Andrews  considers  either  incidental  or  acciden- 
tal, and  among   the   accidental  properties  he  mentions   the 


security  or  "  collateral "  which  may  back  up  and  guarantee 

Now  as  an  analysis  made  for  the  purpose  of  arriving  at  a 
definition,  this  is  entirely  right.  No  exception  can  be  taken 
to  it.  But  it  is  seriously  to  be  feared  that  nearly  every  person 
who  reads  it  will  infer  that,  because  security  or  "collateral" 
is  an  accidental  feature  of  money,  it  is  an  unimportant  and 
well-nigh  useless  one.  And  that  is  where  the  reader  will  make 
a  great  mistake.  It  is  true  that  money  is  money,  with  or  with- 
out security,  but  it  cannot  be  a  perfect  or  reliable  money  in 
the  absence  of  security  ;  nay,  it  cannot  be  a  money  worth  con-_ 
sidering  in  this  age.  The  advance  from  barter  to  unsecured 
money  is  a  much  shorter  and  less  important  step  logically  than 
that  from  unsecured  money  to  secured  money.  The  rude 
vessel  in  which 'primitive  men  first  managed  to  float  upon  the 
water  very  likely  had  all  the  essentials  of  a  boat,  but  it  was 
much  nearer  to  no  boat  at  all  than  it  was  to  the  stanch, 
swift,  and  sumptuous  Cunarder  that  now  speeds  its  way  across 
the  Atlantic  in  a  week.  It  was  a  boat,  sure  enough  ;  but  not 
a  boat  in  which  a  very  timid  or  even  moderately  cautious 
man  would  care  to  risk  his  life  in  more  than  five  feet  of 
water  beyond  swimming  distance  from  the  shore.  It  had 
all  the  essentials,  but  it  lacked  a  great  many  accidentals. 
Among  them,  for  instance,  a  compass.  A  compass  is  not 
an  essential  of  a  boat,  but  it  is  an  essential  of  satisfactory 
navigation.  So  security  is  not  an  essential  of  money,  but 
it  is  an  essential  of  steady  production  and  stable  commerce. 
A  boat  without  a  compass  is  almost  sure  to  strike  upon 
the  rocks.  Likewise  money  without  security  is  almost  sure 
to  precipitate  the  people  using  it  into  general  bankruptcy. 
When  products  can  be  had  for  the  writing  of  promises  and  the 
idea  gels  abroad  that  such  promises  are  good  money  whether 
kept  or  not,  the  promisors  are  very  likely  to  stop  producing  ; 
and,  if  the  process  goes  on  long  enough,  it  will  be  found  at  the 
end  that  there  are  plenty  of  promises  with  which  to  buy,  but 
that  there  is  nothing  left  to  be  bought,  and  that  it  will  require 
an  infinite  number  of  promises  to  buy  an  infinitesimal  amount 
of  nothing.  If,  however,  people  find  that  their  promises  will 
not  be  accepted  unless  accompanied  by  evidence  of  an  inten- 
tion and  ability  to  keep  them,  and  if  this  evidence  is  kept 
definitely  before  all  through  some  system  of  organized  credit, 
the  promisors  will  actively  bestir  themselves  to  create  the 
means  of  keeping  their  promises;  and  the  free  circulation  of 
these  promises,  far  from  checking  production,  will  vastly  stim- 
ulate it,  the  result  being,  not  bankruptcy,  but  universal  wealth. 

278  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

A  money  thus  secured  is  fit  for  civilized  people.  Any  other 
money,  though  it  have  all  the  essentials,  belongs  to  barbarians, 
and  is  hardly  fit  to  buy  the  Indian's  dug-out. 


\lAherty^  June  7,  i8go.] 

The  introduction  in  congress  by  Leland  Stanford  of  a  bill 
proposing  to  issue  one  hundred  millions  or  more  of  United 
States  notes  to  holders  of  agricultural  land,  said  notes  to  be 
secured  by  first  mortgages  on  such  land  and  to  bear  two  per 
cent,  interest,  is  one  of  the  most  notable  events  of- this  time, 
and  its  significance  is  increased  by  the  statement  of  Stanford, 
in  his  speech  supporting  the  bill,  that  its  provisions  will 
probably  be  extended  ultimately  to  other  kinds  of  property. 
This  bill  is  pregnant  with  the  economics  (not  the  politics)  of 
Anarchism.  It  contains  the  germ  of  the  social  revolution.  It 
provides  a  system  of  governmental  mutual  banking.  If  it 
were  possible  to  honestly  and  efficiently  execute  its  provisions, 
it  would  have  only  to  be  extended  to  other  kinds  of  property 
and  to  gradually  lower  its  rate  of  interest  from  two  per  cent, 
(an  eminently  safe  figure  to  begin  with)  to  one  per  cent.,  or 
one  half  of  one  per  cent.,  or  whatever  figure  might  be  found 
sufficient  to  cover  the  cost  of  operating  the  system,  in  order 
to  steadily  and  surely  transfer  a  good  three-fourths  of  the  in- 
come of  idle  capitalists  to  the  pockets  of  the  wage-workers  of 
the  country.  The  author  of  this  bill  is  so  many  times  a  mil- 
lionaire that,  even  if  every  cent  of  his  income  were  to  be  cut 
off,  his  principal  would  still  be  sufficient  to  support  his  family 
for  generations  to  come,  but  it  is  none  the  less  true  that  he 
has  proposed  a  measure  which,  with  the  qualifications  already 
specified,  would  ultimately  make  his  descendants  either  pau- 
pers or  toilers  instead  of  gigantic  parasites  like  himself.  In 
short,  Leland  Stanford  has  indicated  the  only  blow  (consid- 
ered solely  in  its  economic  aspect)  that  can  ever  reach  capital- 
ism's heart.  From  his  seat  in  the  United  States  Senate  he 
has  told  the  people  of  this  country,  in  effect,  that  the  funda- 
mental economic  teaching  reiterated  by  Liberty  from  the  day 
of  its  first  publication  is  vitally  true  and  sound. 

Unhappily  his  bill  is  vitiated  by  the  serious  defect  of 
governmentalism.  If  it  had  simply  abolished  all  the  restric- 
tions and  taxes  on  banking,  and   had   empowered  all    indi- 


viduals  and  associations  to  do  just  what  its  passage  would  em- 
power the  government  to  do,  it  would  not  only  have  been 
significant,  but,  adopted  by  congress,  it  would  have  been  the 
most  tremendously  and  beneficially  effective  legislative  mea- 
sure ever  recorded  on  a  statute  book.  But,  as  it  is,  it  is  made 
powerless  for  good  by  the  virus  of  political  corruption  that 
lurks  within  it.  The  bill,  if  passed,  would  be  entrusted  for 
execution  either  to  the  existing  financial  cabal  or  to  some 
other  that  would  become  just  as  bad.  All  the  beneficent 
results  that,  as  an  economic  measure,  it  is  calculated  to 
achieve  would  be  nearly  counteracted,  perhaps  far  more  than 
counteracted,  by  the  cumulative  evils  inherent  in  State  ad- 
ministration. It  deprives  itself,  in  advance,  of  the  vitalizing 
power  of  free  competition.  If  the  experiment  should  be  tried, 
the  net  result  would  probably  be  evil.  It  would  fail,  disas- 
trously fail,  and  the  failure  and  disaster  would  be  falsely  and 
stupidly  attributed  to  its  real  virtue,  its  econotnic  character.  For 
perhaps  another  century  free  banking  would  have  to  bear  the 
odium  of  the  evils  generated  by  a  form  of  governmental  bank- 
ing more  or  less  similar  to  it  economically.  Some  bad  name 
would  be  affixed  to  the  Stanford  notes,  and  this  would  replace 
the  assignat,  the  "  wild  cat,"  and  the  "  rag  baby,"  as  a  more 
effective  scarecrow.  It  would  unendurably  prolong  the  bray 
of  those  financial  asses  of  whom  the  most  recent  typical 
example  is  furnished  in  the  person  of  General  M.  M.  Trumbull, 
of  Chicago.* 

While  hoping,  then,  that  it  may  never  pass,  let  us  never- 
theless make  the  most  of  its  introduction  by  using  it  as  a  text 
in  our  educational  work.  This  may  be  done  in  one  way- by 
showing  its  economic  similarity  to  Anarchistic  finance  and  by 
disputing  the  astounding  claim  of  originality  put  forward  by 
Stanford.  In  his  Senate  speech  of  May  23,  he  said  :  "  There 
is  no  analogy  between  this  scheme  for  a  government  of 
65,000,000  people,  with  its  boundless  resources,  issuing  its 
money,  secured  directly  by  at  least  $2  for  f  i,  on  the  best  pos- 

*  At  the  time  when  this  was  written  General  Trumbull  had  just  been 
guilty,  and  not  for  the  first  time,  of  stupidly  confusing  mutual  money  with 
fiat  money,  and  as  his  ignorance  of  the  difference  between  them  was  ut- 
terly without  excuse  and  yet  was  given  voice  in  that  tone  of  superiority 
which  ignorance  is  wont  to  assume,  it  seemed  proper  to  administer  this 
rebuke,  which,  though  conceded  to  be  just  by  some  of  General  Trumbull's 
best  friends,  was  considered  by  others  unduly  severe.  The  writer  is  not 
behind  these  last  in  his  admiration  of  General  Trumbull  as  a  man  and  a 
thinker.  As  a  publicist  he  is  usually  and  unusually  witty  and  wise;  only 
when  discussing  finance  does  he  utter  absurdities  that  justify  the  epithet 
9,bove  applied, 

2ao  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

sible  security  that  could  be  desired,  and  any  other  financial 
proposition  that  has  ever  been  suggested."  If  Stanford  said 
this  honestly,  his  words  show  him  to  be  both  an  intellectual 
pioneer  and  a  literary  laggard.  More  familiarity  with  the 
literature  of  the  subject  would  show  him  that  he  has  had 
several  predecessors  in  this  path.  Col.  William-  B.  Greene 
used  to  say  of  Lysander  Spooner's  financial  proposals  that 
their  only  originality  lay  in  the  fact  that  he  had  taken  out  a 
patent  on  them.  The  only  originality  of  Stanford's  lies  in 
the  fact  that  it  is  made  for  a  government  of  65,000,000  of 
people.  For  governments  of  other  sizes  the  same  proposal 
has  been  made  before.  Parallel  to  it  in  all  essentials,  both 
economically  and  politically,  are  Proudhon's  Bank  of  Ex- 
change and  the  proposal  of  Hugo  Bilgram.  Parallel  to  it 
economically  are  Proudhon's  Bank  of  the  People,  Greene's 
Mutual  Banks,  and  Spooner's  real  estate  mortgage  banks. 
And  the  financial  thought  that  underlies  it  is  closely  paralleled 
in  the  writings  of  Josiah  Warren,  Stephen  Pearl  Andrews,  and 
John  Ruskin.  If  Stanford  will  sit  at  the  feet  of  any  of  these 
men  for  a  time,  he  will  rise  a  wiser  and  more  modest  man. 

Like  most  serious  matters,  this  affair  has  its  amusing  side. 
It  is  seen  in  the  idolization  of  Stanford  by  the  Greenbackers. 
This  shows  how  ignorant  these  men  are  of  their  own  principles. 
Misled  by  the  resemblance  of  the  proposed  measure  to  Green- 
backism  in  some  incidental  respects,  they  hurrah  themselves 
hoarse  over  the  California  senator,  blissfully  unaware  that  his 
bill  is  utterly  subversive  of  the  sole  essential  of  Greenbackisra, 
— namely,  the  fiat  idea.  The  Greenbacker  is  distinguished 
from  all  other  men  in  this  and  only  in  this, — that  in  his  eyes  a 
dollar  is  a  dollar  because  the  government  stamps  it  as  such. 
Now  in  Stanford's  eyes  a  dollar  is  a  dollar  because  it  is  based 
upon  and  secured  by  a  specific  piece  of  property  that  will  sell 
in  the  market  for  at  least  a  certain  number  of  grains  of  gold. 
Two- views  more  antagonistic  than  these  it  would  be  impos- 
sible to  cite.  And  yet  the  leading  organs  of  Greenbackism 
apparently  regard  them  as  identical. 



[Liberty,  July  16,  1887  ] 

In  a  long  reply  to  Edward  Atkinson's  recent  address  before 
the  Boston  Labor  Lyceum,  Henry  George's  Standard  impairs 
the  effect  of  much  sound  and  effective  criticism  by  the  follow- 
ing careless  statement : 

Mr.  Atkinson  does  not  even  know  the  nature  of  his  own  business. 
He  told  his  audience  that  his  "regular  work  is  t8  stop  the  cotton  and 
woollen  mills  from  being  burned  up."  This  is  a  grave  blunder.  Fire  in- 
surance companies  are  engaged  in  distributing  losses  by  fire  among  the 
insured.  As  a  statistician  he  knows  that  statistics  show  that  in  New 
Hampshire,  when  that  State  was  boycotted  by  the  insurance  companies, 
the  number  of  fires  was  reduced  by  thirty  per  cent.  He  does  not  save 
buildings  from  fire. 

This  is  a  gross  slander  of  one  of  the  most  admirable  institu- 
tions in  America, — none  the  less  admirable  in  essence  because 
it  happens  in  this  instance  to  exist  for  the  benefit  of  the  cap- 
italists. Mr.  George  unwarrantably  assumes  that  Mr.  Atkinson 
is  engaged  in  an  insurance  business  of  the  every-day  sort.  This 
is  far  from  true.  He  is  the  president  of  an  insurance  com- 
pany doing  business  on  a  principle  which,  if  it  should  be 
adopted  in  the  banking  business,  would  do  more  to  abolish 
poverty  than  all  the  nostrums  imagine'd  or  imaginable,  includ- 
ing the  taxation  of  land  values.  'This  principle  is  the  mutu- 
alistic,  or  cost,  principle. 

Some  time  ago  a  number  of  mill-owners  decided  that  they 
would  pay  no  more  profits  to  insurance  companies,  inasmuch 
as  they  could  insure  themselves  much  more  advantageously. 
So  they  formed  a  company  of  their  own,  into  the  treasury  of 
which  each  mill  pays  annually  a  sum  proportional  to  the 
amount  for  which  it  wishes  to  insure,  receiving  it  back  at  the 
end  of  the  year  minus  its  proportion  of  the  year's  losses  by 
fire  paid  by  the  company  and  of  the  cost  of  maintaining  the 
company.  It  is  obvious  that  by  the  adoption  of  this  plan  the 
mills  would  have  saved  largely,  even  if  fires  had  continued  to 
occur  in  them  as  frequently  as  before.  But  this  is  not  all.  By 
mutual  agreement  the  mills  place  themselves,  so  far  as  protec- 
tion against  fire  is  concerned,  under  the  supervision  of  the  in- 
surance company,  which  keeps  inspectors  to  see  that  each  mill 
avails  itself  of  all  the  best  means  of  preventing  and  extin- 
guishing fire,  and  uses  the  utmost  care  in  the  matter.  As  a 
consequence  the  nurnber  of  fires  and  the  aggregate  damage 

282  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

caused  thereby  has  been  reduced  in  a  degree  that  would 
scarcely  be  credited  ;  the  cost  of  insurance  to  these  mills  is 
now  next  to  nothing,  and  this  cost  might  be  reduced  still  fur- 
ther by  cutting  down  an  enormous  salary  paid  to  Mr.  Atkin- 
son for  services  which  not  a  few  persons  more  industrious  and 
capable  than  he  are  ready  to  perform  for  less  money.  Mr.  At- 
kinson's insurance  company,  then,  does  save  buildings  from 
fire,  and  Mr.  George's  statement  that  it  does  not  is  as  reckless 
as  anything  that  Mr.  Atkinson  ever  said  to  prove  that  the 
laboring  man  is  an  inhabitant  of  Paradise. 

Moreover,  it  is  the  height  of  stupidity  for  any  champion  of 
labor  to  slur  this  insurance  company,  for  it  contains  in  gerrri 
the  solution  of  the  labor  question.  When  workingmen  and 
business  men  shall  be  allowed  to  organize  their  credit  as  these 
mill-owners  have  organized  their  insurance,  the  former  will 
pay  no  more  tribute  to  the  credit-monger  than  the  latter  pay 
to  the  insurance-monger,  and  the  one  class  will  be  as  safe  from 
bankruptcy  as  the  other  is  from  fire.  Yet  Mr.  Atkinson,  whose 
daily  life  should  keep  this  truth  perpetually  before  his  mind, 
pretends  that  the  laborer  can  achieve  the  social  revolution  by 
living  on  beef -bones  and  using  water-gas  as  fuel.  Can  any  one 
think  him  sincere  ? 


[Lidcr/y^  Ja^nuary  10,  1891.] 

The  great  central  principle  of  Anarchistic  economics — 
namely,  the  dethronement  of  gold  and  silver  from  their  posi- 
tion of  command  over  all  other  wealth  by  the  destruction  of 
their  monopoly  currency  privilege — is  rapidly  forging  to  the 
front.  The  Farmers'  Alliance  sub-treasury  scheme,  unscien- 
tific and  clumsy  as  it  is,  is  a  glance  in  this  direction.  The  im- 
portance of  Senator  Stanford's  land  bill,  more  scientific  and 
workable,  but  incomplete,  and  vicious  because  governmental, 
has  already  been  emphasized  in  these  columns.  But  most 
notable  of  all  is  the  recent  revolution  in  the  financial  attitude 
of  Edward  Atkinson,  the  most  orthodox  and  cock-sure  of 
American  economists,  who  now  swells  with  his  voice  the  grow- 
ing demand  for  a  direct  representation  of  all  wealth  in  the 

In  a  series  of  articles  in  Bradstreet's  and  in  an  address  be- 
fore the  Boston  Boot  and  Shoe  Club,  this  old-time  foe  of  all 


paper  money  not  based  on  specie  ;  this  man  who,  fifteen  or 
twenty  years  ago,  stood  up  in  the  town  hall  of  Brookline  in  a 
set  debate  with  Col.  Wm.  B.  Greene  to  combat  the  central 
principle  of  Mutual  Banking  ;  this  boor,  who  has  never  lost  an 
opportunity  of  insulting  "Anarchism  and  Anarchists, — now 
comes  forward  to  save  the  country  with  an  elaborate  financial 
scheme  which  he  offers  as  original  with  himself,  but  which  has 
really  been  Anarchistic  thunder  these  many  years,  was  first  put 
forward  in  essence  by  Proudhon,  the  father  of  Anarchism,  and 
was  championed  by  Atkinson's  old  antagonist,  Col.  Wm.  B. 
Greene,  to  the  end  of  his  life.  Of  course,  all  the  papers  are 
talking  about  it,  and,  on  the  principle  that  "  everything  goes" 
that  comes  from  the  great  Atkinson,  most  of  them  give  it  a 
warm  welcome,  though  precious  few  of  them  understand  what 
it  means.  Those  which  probably  do  understand,  like  the  New 
York  Evening  Post,  content  themselves  for  the  present  with  a 
mild  protest,  reserving  their  heavier  fire  to  be  used  in  case 
the  plan  should  seem  likely  to  gain  acceptance. 

The  proposal  is  briefly  this  :  that  the  national  banks  of  the 
country  shall  be  divided  into  several  districts,  each  district 
having  a  certain  city  as  a  banking  centre  ;  that  any  bank  may 
deposit  with  the  clearing-house  securities  satisfactory  to  the 
clearing-house  committee,  and  receive  from  the  clearing-house 
certificates  in  the  form  of  bank-notes  of  small  denominations, 
to  the  extent  of  seventy-five  per  cent,  of  the  value  of  the  secu- 
rities ;  that  these  notes  shall  bear  the  bank's  promise  to  pay 
on  the  back,  and  shall  be  redeemable  on  demand  at  the  bank 
in  legal-tender  money,  and,  in  case  of  failure  on  the  bank's 
part  to  so  redeem  them,  they  shall  be  redeemable  at  the  clear- 
ing-house ;  and  that  this  new  circulating  medium  shall  be  ex- 
empt from  the  ten  per  cent,  tax  imposed  upon  State  bank 

Of  course  a  scheme  like  this  would  not  work  the  economic 
revolution  which  Anarchism  expects  from  free  banking.  It 
does  not  destroy  the  monopoly  of  the  right  to  bank  ;  it  retains 
the  control  of  the  currency  in  the  hands  of  a  cabal  ;  it  under- 
takes the  redemption  of  the  currency  in  legal-tender  money, 
regardless  of  the  fact  that,  if  any  large  proportion  of  the 
country's  wealth  should  become  directly  represented  in  the 
currency,  there  would  not  be  sufficient  legal-tender  money  to  re- 
deem it.  It  is  dangerous  in  its  feature  of  centralizing  responsi- 
bility instead  of  localizing  it,  and  it  is  defective  in  less  impor- 
tant respects.  I  call  attention  to  it  and  welcome  it,  because 
here  for  the  first  time  Proudhon's  doctrine  of  the  republican- 
ization  of  specie  is  soberly  championed  by  a  recognized  econo. 

284  INSTEAD   OF   A   BOOK. 

mist.     This  fact   alone   makes   it   an  important   sign   of  the 

I  am  surprised  that  its  importance  has  not  been  fully  appre- 
ciated by  the  Galveston  News,  which  journal  alone  among  the 
great  dailies  of  the  country  is  an  exponent  of  rational  finance. 
Its  editor,  in  noticing  Atkinson's  scheme,  instead  of  pointing 
out  its  introduction  of  a  revolutionary  principle,  remarks  that 
"  the  one  infallible  way  to  reach  the  ideal  of  a  sound  system 
of  organized  credit  is  to  reach  the  ideal  of  a  population  cor- 
respondingly sound  in  character  and  intellect."  This  philis- 
tine  utterance  I  hardly  expected  from  such  a  quarter.  It  is 
undoubtedly  true  that  a  considerable  degree  of  character  and 
intellect  is  necessary  to  the  successful  organization  of  credit. 
But  this  truth  is  now  a  truism.  There  is  another  truth,  not  a 
truism,  for  the  inculcation  of  which  there  is  pressing  need, — 
that  credit,  once  organized,  will  do  as  much  to  develop  charac- 
ter and  intellect  as  the  development  of  character  and  intellect 
ever  did  to  organize  credit.  It  was  this  truth,  and  the  impor- 
tant bearing  that  the  monetization  of  all  wealth  would  have 
upon  it,  that  I  expected  to  see  emphasized  by  the  Galveston 
News  in  its  comments  upon  Atkinson's  proposal.  I  hoped 
and  still  hope,  to  hear  it  rejoice  with  Liberty  that  the  man 
whose  solutions  of  the  labor  problem  have  consisted  mainly 
of  nine-dollar  suits  and  ten-cent  meals  and  patent  ovens  has 
at  last  broached  a  measure  that,  instead  of  being  beneath  con- 
tempt, is  worthy  of  profound  consideration. 


[Liberty,  August  9,  1884.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty : 

In  Liberty  of  June  28  you  refer  to  a  writer  in  the  Essex  Statesman,  of 
wliona  you  say  that  he  "gets  down  to  bottom  truth  "  on  the  tariff  ques- 
tion by  averring  that  "  Free  iVIoney  "  and  "  Free  Trade  ''  are  corollaries 
of  each  other. 

Every  Greenbacker  (I  am  one)  of  brains  perceived  this  simple  (I  might 
say  axiomatic)  doctrine  the  moment  he  thought  at  all  on  it. 

Monopoly  of  money  is  through  interest  ;  monopoly  of  trade  is  through 
taxing  (tariffs)  :  so,  if  you  would  overthrow  all  monopoly,  you  have  only 
to  secure  currency  unloaded  with  interest,  and  their  doom  is  recorded. 

There  is  no  more  rational  reformer  in  existence  than  the  "Green- 
backer"  who  is  a  Greenbacker  in  the  only  rational  sense  of  the  word, — 
that  is,  a  believer  in  "  a  non-interest-bearing  currency." 

It  is  amusing,  this  prating  of  "  secured  money  "  I     Liberty  ought  to  see 

M6n£y  and  interest.  2§5 

that  a  currency  "  based  "  on  any  "  security  "  other  than  its  inherent  func- 
tion and  non-discountableness  would  rob  those  who  used  it. 

If  the  whole  community  co-operate  in  its  issue  and  use,  and  "fix"  no 
limit  to  its  quantity  or  use,  such  currency  would  be  perfect  as  to  all 
qualities,  and  rob  none  ;  and  such  money  is  "full  legal  tender"  under 
any  name  you  choose  to  label  it. 

As  I  have  taught  this  doctrine  for  more  than  ten  years,  I  hope  you  will 
give  a  corner  to  this  brief  "  brick  "  in  Liberty. 

E.   H.  Benton. 
Wells  Mills  (Geere),  Neb.,  July,  1884. 

I  have  given  Mr.  Benton  his  "  corner,"  and  I  think  he  will 
have  difficulty  in  getting  out  of  it.  Let  me  suppose  a  case 
for  him.  A  is  a  farmer,  and  owns  a  farm  worth  five  thousand 
dollars.  B  keeps  q.  bank  of  issue,  and  is  known  far  and  wide 
as  a  cautious  and  honest  business  man.  C,  D,  E,  etc.,  down 
to  Z  are  each  engaged  in  some  one  of  the  various  pursuits  of 
civilized  life.  A  needs  ready  money.  He  mortgages  his  farm 
to  B,  and  receives  in  return  B's  notes,  in  various  denomina- 
tions, to  the  amount  of  five  thousand  dollars,  for  which  B 
charges  A  this  transaction's  just  proportion  of  the  expenses  of 
running  the  bank,  which  would  be  a  little  less  than  one-half 
of  one  per  cent.  With  these  notes  A  buys  various  products 
which  he  needs  of  C,  D,  E,  etc.,  down  to  Z,  who  in  turn  with 
the  same  notes  buy  products  of  each  other,  and  in  course  of 
time  come  back  to  A  with  them  to  buy  his  farm  produce.  A, 
thus  regaining  possession  of  B's  notes,  returns  them  to  B,  who 
then  cancels  his  mortgage  on  A's  farm.  All  these  parties, 
from  A  to  Z,  have  been  using  for  the  performance  of  innumer- 
able, transactions  B's  notes  based  on  A's  farm, — that  is,  a  cur- 
rency based  on  some  security  "  other  than  its  inherent  func- 
tion and  non-discountableness."  They  were  able  to  perform 
them  only  because  they  all  knew  that  the  notes  were  thus 
secured.  A  knew  it  because  he  gave  the  mortgage  ;  B  knew 
it  because  he  took  the  mortgage  ;  C,  D,  E,  etc.,  down  to  Z 
knew  it  because  they  knew  that  B  never  issued  notes  unless 
they  were  secured  in  this  or  some  similar  way.  Now,  Liberty 
is  ready  to  see,  as  Mr.  Benton  says  it  ought  to  see,  that  any  or 
all  of  these  parties  have  been  robbed  by  the  use  of  this  money 
when  Mr.  Benton  shall  demonstrate  it  by  valid  fact  and  argu- 
ment.    Until  then  he  must  stay  in  his  corner. 

A  word  as  to  the  phrase  "  legal  tender."  That  only  is  legal 
tender  which  the  government  prescribes  as  valid  for  the  dis- 
charge of  debt.  Any  currency  not  so  prescribed  is  not  legal 
tender,  no  matter  how  universal  its  use  or  how  unlimited  its 
issue,  and  to  label  it  so  is  a  confusion  of  terms. 

Another  word  as  to   the   term   "  Greenbacker."     He   is   a 

5§6  iNStEAB  OP  A   BOOK. 

Greenbackef  who  subscribes  to  the  platfotffl  Of  the  Greenback 
party.  The  cardinal  principle  of  that  platform  is  that  the 
government  shall  monopolize' the  manufacture  of  money,  and 
that  any  one  who,  in  rebellion  against  that  sacred  prerogative, 
may  presume  to  issue  currency  on  his  own  account  shall 
therefor  be  taxed,  or  fined,  or  imprisoned,  or  hanged,  or  drawn 
and  quartered,  or  submitted  to  any  other  punishment  Or  tort- 
ure which  the  government,  in  pursuit  and  exercise  of  its  good 
pleasure,  may  see  fit  to  impose  upon  him.  Unless  Mr.  Benton 
believes  in  that,  he  is  not  a  Greenbacker,  and  I  am  sure  I  am 
not,  although,  with  Mr.  Benton,  I  believe  in  a  non-interest- 
bearing  currency. 


{Liberty,  December  i,  1888.] 

To  the  Editor  of  Liberty  : 

I  understand  that  the  monopoly  of  money  should  be  broken,  and  this 
would  leave  all  persons  who  possessed  property  free  to  issue  solvent  notes 
thereon,  the  competition  between  them  so  reducing  the  rate  of  interest 
that  it  would  enable  woiild-be  business  people  to  borrow  on  advantageous 
terms.  Now,  to  my  mind  this  would  do  no  good  unless  the  new  order  of 
benefited  business  persons  adopted  the  "  Cost  principle  "  in  production 
and  distribution,  in  order  to  break  down  the  present  bad  arrangements  in 
society  that  is  composed  of  workers  on  one  side  and  idlers  and  unproduc- 
tive or  useless  persons  on  the  other  side. 

If  the  cost  principle  was  not  in  view,  the  result  to  my  mind  of  "  plentiful 
money  "  would  only  lead  to  a  short  briskness  of  trade  and  a  speedy  break- 
down,— much  speedier  than  now. 

Neither  do  I  think  (in  the  absence  of  applying  the  cost  principle)  that 
competition  among  bankers  would  bring  the  issue  down  to  cost  through 
the  sheer  force  of  competition,  because  people  would  cease  to  go  into  the 
banking  business  if  it  did  not  yield  the  normal  rate  of  interest  on  capital. 

In  conclusion,  I  must  say  I  believe  in  the  "  Cost  principle,"  and  yet  as 
an  Anarchist  there  seems  something  arbitrary  in  it.  It  is  the  reconcilia- 
tion of  "Cost"  and  competition  that  my  mind  cannot  yet  grasp. 

Yours  faithfully,  Frank  A.  Matthews. 

The  Cost  principle  cannot  fail  to  seem  arbitrary  to  one  who 
does  not  see  that  it  can  only  be  realized  through  economic 
processes  that  go  into  operation  the  moment  liberty  is  allowed 
in  finance.  To  see  this  it  is  necessary  to  understand  the 
principles  of  mutual  banking,  which  Mr.  Matthews  has  not 
attentively  studied.  If  he  had,  he  would  know  that  the  estab- 
lishment of  a  mutual  bank  does  not  require  the  investment  of 
capital,  inasmuch  as  the  customers  of  the  bank  furnish  all  the 


capital  upon  which  the  bank's  notes  are  based,  and  that  there- 
fore the  rate  of  discount  charged  by  the  bank  for  the  service 
of  exchanging  its  notes  for  those  of  its  customers  is  governed, 
under  competition,  by  the  cost  of  that  service,  and  not  by  the 
rate  of  interest  that  capital  commands.  The  relation  is  just 
the  contrary  of  Mr.  Matthews's  supposition.  It  is  the  rate  of 
interest  on  capital  that  is  governed  by  the  bank's  rate  of  dis- 
count, for  capitalists  will  not  be  able  to  lend  their  capital  at 
interest  when  people  can  get  money  at  the  bank  without 
interest  with  which  to  buy  capital  outright.  It  is  this  effect 
of  free  and  mutual  banking  upon  the  rate  of  interest  on 
capital  that  insures,  or  rather  constitutes,  the  realization  of 
the  Cost  principle  by  economic  processes.  For  the  moment 
interest  and  rent  are  eliminated  as  elements  of  price,  and  brisk 
competition  is  assured  by  the  ease  of  getting  capital,  profits 
fall  to  the  level  of  the  manufacturer's  or  merchant's  proper 
wage.  It  is  well,  as  Mr.  Matthews  says,  to  have  the  Cost 
principle  in' view  ;  for  it  is  doubtless  true  that  the  ease  with 
which  society  travels  the  path  of  progress  is  largely  governed 
by  the  clearness  with  which  it  foresees  it.  But,  foresight  or 
no  foresight,  it  "  gets  there  just  the  same."  The  only  fore- 
sight absolutely  necessary  to  progress  is  foresight  of  the  fact 
that  liberty  is  its  single  essential  condition. 


{Liberty,  September  20,  1884.] 

While  the  principle  of  equal  representation  of  all  available  values  by  the 
notes  of  the  Exchange  Bank  is  what  I  have  advocated  these  thirty  years,  I 
do  not  perceive  how,  in  generalizing  the  system,  as  Proudhon  would  do 
(I  refer  to  the  paragraphs  translated  by  Greene),  we  are  to  avoid  the 
chances  of  forgery  on  the  one  side,  and  on  the  other  of  fraudulent  issues 
by  the  officers  of  the  Bank. 

Such  a  Bank,  moreover,  is  equivalent  to  a  general  insurance  policy  on 
the  property  of  a  country,  and  the  true  value  of  its  notes  must  depend  on 
security  against  conflagrations  and  other  catastrophes  affecting  real  estate 
as  well  as  "  personal  property." 

I  hope  that  the  first  essays  will  be  local  and  limited.  I  think  the 
commercial  activity  of  modern  civilization  dangerously,  if  not  fatally, 
exaggerated  and  disproportioned  to  production.  The  Railroad  is  a  re- 
volver in  the  hands  of  a  maniac,  who  has  just  about  sense  enough  to  shoot 
himself.  Even  were  we  not,  in  our  blind  passion  for  rapid  and  facile 
transportation,  hanging  ourselves  by  the  slip-noose  of  monopoly,  the  im- 
pulse which  railroads  give  to  and  towards  city  life,  coming,  as  it  has, 
before  the  establishment  of  a  conservative  scavenger  system,  by  which  the 

288  INSTEAD    OF    A    fi06K. 

cream  of  soils  would  be  restored  to  them,  rapidly  drains  and  wastes  terra- 
solar  vitality,  and  suffices  soon  to  render  America  a  desert.  The  feasible 
check  to  this  "galloping  consumption  "  lies  in  localizing  the  circuits  of  pro- 
duction with  manipulation  and  consumption  in  cooperative  associations. 
The  smaller  the  area  in  which  such  self-sufficing  circuit  is  effected,  the 
greater  the  economy  of  force  in  transportation. 

Men  and  Gods  are  too  extense  ; 

Could  you  slacken  and  condense  ?  • 

I  suppose  you  see  the  correlation  of  this  idea  with  that  of  the  safety  of 
Exchange  Bank  notes,  as  in  a  locally  restricted  commerce  frauds  could 
and  would  be  promptly  detected,  and  therefore  would  be  seldom  attempted. 


Proudhon  was  accustomed  to  present  his  views  of  the  way 
in  which  credit  may  be  organized  in  two  forms, — his  Bank  of 
Exchange  and  his  Bank  of  the  People.  The  latter  was  his 
real  ideal  ;  the  former  he  advocated  whenever  he  wished  to 
avoid  the  necessity  of  combating  the  objections  of  the  govern- 
mentalists.  The  Bank  of  Exchange  was  to  be  simply  the 
Bank  of  France  transformed  on  the  mutual  principle.  It  is 
easy  to  see  that  the  precautions  against  forgery  and  over- 
issue now  used  by  the  Bank  of  France  would  be  equally  valid 
after  the  transformation.  But  in  the  case  of  the  Bank  of  the 
People,  which  involves  the  introduction  of  free  competition 
into  the  banking  business,  these  evils  will  have  to  be  other- 
wise guarded  against.  The  various  ways  of  doing  this  are 
secondary  considerations,  having  nothing  to  do  with  the  prin- 
ciples of  finance  ;  and  human  ingenuity,  which  has  heretofore 
conquered  much  greater  obstacles,  will  undoubtedly  prove 
equal  to  the  emergency.  The  more  reputable  banks  would 
soon  become  distinguished  from  the  others  by  some  sort  of 
voluntary  organization  and  mutual  inspection  necessary  to 
their  own  protection.  The  credit  of  all  such  as  declined  to 
submit  to  thorough  examination  by  experts  at  any  moment  or 
to  keep  their  books  open  for  public  inspection  would  be 
ruined,  and  these  would  receive  no  patronage.  Probably  also 
the  better  banks  would  combine  in  the  use  of  a  uniform  bank- 
note paper  difficult  to  counterfeit,  which  would  be  guarded 
most  carefully  and  distributed  to  the  various  banks  only  so 
far  as  they  could  furnish  security  for  it.  In  fact,  any  number 
of  checks  can  be  devised  by  experts  that  would  secure  the 
currency  against  all  attempts  at  adulteration.  There  is  little 
doubt  that  the  first  essays  will  be,  as  "  Edgeworth  "  hopes, 
"local  and  limited."  But  I  do  not  think  the  money  so  pro- 
duced will  be  nearly  as  safe  as  that  which  will  result  when 
the  system  has  become  widespread  and  its  various  branches 
organized  in  such  a  way  that  the  best  means  of  protection 
may  be  utilized  at  small  expense. 



[Lilierty,  July  16,  1887.] 

Van  Buren  Denslow,  discussing  in  the  Trutk  Seeker  the 
comparative  rewards  of  labor  and  capital,  points  out  that  the 
present  wage  system  divides  profits  almost  evenly  between 
the  two,  instancing  the  railways  of  Illinois,  which  pay  annually 
in  salaries  and  wages  $81,936,170,  and  to  capital,  which  Mr. 
Denslow  defines  as  the  "  labor  previously  done  in  constructing 
and  equipping  the  roads,"  $81,720,265.  Then  he  remarks  : 
"  No  system  of  intentional  profit-sharing  is  more  equal  than 
this,  provided  we  assent  to  the  principle  that  a  day's  work 
already  done  and  embodied  in  the  form  of  capital  is  as  well 
entitled  to  compensation  for  its  use  as  a  day's  work  not  yet 
done,  which  we  call  labor."  Exactly.  But  the  principle 
referred  to  is  the  very  thing  which  we  Socialists  deny,  and 
until  Mr.  Denslow  can  meot  and  vanquish  us  on  that  point,  he 
will  in  vain  attempt  to  defend  the  existing,  or  any  other  form 
of  profit-sharing.  The  Socialists'  assert  that  "  a  day's  work 
embodied  in  the  form  of  capital  "  has  already  been  fully 
rewarded  by  the  ownership  of  that  capital ;  that,  if  the  owner 
lends  it  to  another  to  use  and  the  user  damages  it,  destroys  it, 
or  consumes  any  part  of  it,  the  owner  is  entitled  to  have  this 
damage,  destruction,  or  consumption  made  good  ;  and  that,  if 
the  owner  receives  from  the  user  any  surplus  beyond  the 
return  of  his  capital  intact,  his  day's  work  is  paid  for  a  second 

Perhaps  Mr.  Denslow  will  tell  us,  as  we  have  so  often  been 
told  before,  that  this  day's  work  should  be  paid  for  a  second 
and  a  third  and  a  hundredth  and  a  millionth  time,  .because 
the  capital  which  it  produced  and  in  which  it  is  embodied 
increased  the  productivity  of  future  labor.  The  fact  that  it 
did  cause  such  an  increase  we  grant;  but  that  labor,  where 
there  is  freedom,  is  or  should  be  paid  in  proportion  to  its  use- 
fulness we  deny.  All  useful  qualities  exist  in  nature,  either 
actively  or  potentially,  and  their  benefits,  under  freedom,  are 
distributed  by  the  natural  law  of  free  exchange  among  man- 
kind. The  laborer  who  brings  any  particular  useful  quality 
into  action  is  paid  according  to  the  labor  he  has  expended,  but 
gets  only  his  share,  in  common  with  all  mankind,  of  the  special 
usefulness  of  this  product.  It  is  true  that  the  usefulness  of  his 
product  has  a  tendency  to  enhance  its  price;  but  this  tendency 
is  immediately  offset,  wherever  competition  is  possible, — and 

29*  iNSTIlAD    0¥    A    BOOIC. 

as  long  as  thete  is  a  money  monopoly  there  is  no  freedoni  of 
competition  in  any  industry  requiring  capital, — by  the  rush  of 
other  laborers  to  create  this  product,  which  lasts  until  the  price 
falls  back  to  the  normal  wages  of  labor.  Hence  it  is  evident 
that  the  owner  of  the  capital  embodying  the  day's  work  above 
referred  to  cannot  get  his  work  paid  for  even  a  second,  time  by 
selling  his  capital.  Why,  then,  should  he  be  able  to  get  it  paid 
for  a  second  time  and  an  infinite  number  of  times  by  re- 
peatedly lending  his  capital  ?  Unless  Mr.  Denslow  can  give 
us  some  reason,  he  will  have  to  admit  that  all  profit-sharing  is 
a  humbug,  and  that  the  entire  net  product  of  industry  should 
fall  into  the  hands  of  labor  not  previously  embodied  in  the 
form  of  capital, — in  other  words,  that  wages  should  entirely 
absorb  profits. 


[Lideriy^  June  ig,  iS86.] 

The  Knights  of  Labor  Convention  at  Cleveland  voted  to 
petition  Congress  for  the  passage  of  an  act  which  embodies  in 
a  very  crude  way  the  all-important  principle  that  all  property 
having  due  stability  of  value  should  be  available  as  a  basis  of 
currency.  The  act  provides  for  the  establishment  of  loan 
offices  in  every  county  in  the  United  States,  which,  under  the 
administration  of  cashiers  and  tellers  appointed  by  the  Secre- 
retary  of  the  Treasury,  shall  issue  legal  tender  money,  redeem- 
able on  demand  in  gold  coin  or  its  equivalent  in  lawful  money 
of  the  United  States,  lending  it  at  three  per  cent,  a  year  to  all 
who  offer  satisfactory  security. 

The  Knights  have  got  hold  of  a  great  idea  here,— one  which 
has  in  it  more  potency  for  the  emancipation  of  labor  than  any 
other  ;  but  see  now  how  they  vitiate  it  and  render  it  impracti- 
cable and  worthless  by  their  political  and  arbitrary  methods  of 
attempting  its  realization! 

One  section  of  the  act,  by  forbidding  all  individuals  or  asso- 
ciations to  issue  money,  makes  a  government  monopoly  of  the 
banking  business, — -an  outrageous  denial  of  liberty  ! 

Another  section,  instead  of  leaving  the  rate  of  discount  to 
be  governed  by  cost  to  which,  were  it  not  for  the  monopoly, 
competition  would  reduce  it,  arbitrarily  fixes  it  at  three  per 
cent.,  thus  recognizing  labor's  worst  foe,  usury.  As  three  per 
cent,  represents  the  average  annual  increase  of  wealth, — that 


is,  the  difference  between  the  annual  production  and  the 
annual  consumption, — this  section  means  that  what  ought  to 
be  labor's  annual  savings,  and  would  be  if  usury  did  not 
abstract  them  from  labor's  pockets,  shall  be  turned  into  the 
government  treasury  to  be  squandered  as  Congress  and  corruf)t 
officials  may  see  fit. 

Another  section  establishes  a  uniform  usury  law  for  the 
entire  country,  providing  that  any  person  who  shall  lend  money 
at  any  other  rate  than  three  per  cent,  shall  forfeit  to  the  bor- 
rower both  principal  and  interest.  Legislators  have  heretofore 
been  satisfied  to  limit  the  rate  of  interest  in  one  direction;  but 
this  limits  it  in  both,  subjecting  the  lender  at  two  per  cent,  to 
the  same  forfeit  that  the  lender  at  four  must  suffer. 

This  piece  of  tyranny,  however,  as  well  as  numerous  others 
in  the  act,  are  thrown  entirely  into  the  shade  by  a  section 
providing  that  any  person  convicted  of  offering  for  sale  gold 
and  silver  coin  of  the  United  States  "  shall  forfeit  as  a  fine 
his  entire  estate,  goods,  money,  and  property,  or  may  be 
imprisoned  at  hard  labor  fer  fifty  years,  or  suffer  both  fine  and 
imprisonment,  and  in  addition  forever  forfeit  the  right  of 
citizenship  in  the  United  States."  What  an  opportunity  for 
Recorder  Smythe,  should  this  offence  ever  come  within  his 
jurisdiction  !  His  insane  lust  for  cruelty,  which  lamented  its 
inability  to  hang  John  Most  for  making  an  incendiary  speech, 
might  find  greater  gratification  under  this  statute.  Imagine 
him  addressing  the  prisoner  at  the  bar  : 

"  John  Jones,  a  jury  of  your  peers  has  found  you  guilty  of  a 
most  heinous  crime.  You  have  presumed  to  offer  in  the 
market-place  and  subject  to  sacrilege  of  barter  our  sacred  cart- 
wheel, the  emblem  of  civilization,  the  silver  dollar  of  the 
United  States.  It  is  evident  that  you  are  a  member  of  the 
dangerous  classes.  You  are  probably  the  greatest  scoundrel 
that  ever  disgraced  the  face  of  the  earth.  It  is  a  great  pity 
that  our  too  merciful  law  will  not  permit  me  to  burn  you  at 
the  stake.  But  as  it  will  not,  I  must  be  contented,  in  the 
interest  of  law,  order,  and  society,  to  go  to  the  extreme  verge 
of  the  latitude  allowed  me.  Therefore,  I  impose  upon  you  a 
fine  equal  to  your  entire  estate,  I  sentence  you  to  imprison- 
ment at  hard  labor  for  fifty  years,  and  I  strip  you  forever  of 
the  right  to  vote  me  out  of  office." 

A  beautiful  organization,  these  Knights  of  Labor,  for  an, 
Anarchist  to  belong  to  ! 

292  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK, 



The  outcry  against  middlemen  is  senseless.  As  E.  H.  Hey- 
wood  puts  it,  "  Middlemen  are  as  important  as  end  men."  And 
they  are  as  truly  producers.  Distribution  is  a  part  of  produc- 
tion. Nothing  is  wholly  produced  until  it  is  ready  for  use, 
and  nothing  is  ready  for  use  until  it  has  reached  the  place 
where  it  is  to  be  used.  Whoever  brings  it  to  that  place  is  a 
producer,  and  as  such  entitled  to  charge  for  his  work.  The 
trouble  with  middlemen  is  that  they  charge  consumers  not 
only  for  their  work,  but  for  the  use  of  their  invested  capital. 
As  it  is,  they  are  useful  members  of  society.  Eliminate  usury 
from  their  methods,  and  they  will  become  respectable  mem- 
bers 2\^o.~- Liberty,  October  i,  1881. 

Those  who  would  have  the  usuref  rewarded  for  rendering  a 
service  always  find  it  convenient  to  forget  that  the  usurer's 
victims  would  not  need  his  service  were  it  not  that  the  laws 
made  at  his  bidding  prevent  them  from  serving  themselves. — 
Liberty,  October  15,  1881. 

Of  the  absolute  correctness  of  the  principle,  and  advisability 
of  the  policy,  of  free  trade  there  can  be  no  reasonable  doubt; 
but  it  must  be  thorough-going  free  trade, — no  such  half-way 
arrangement  as  that  which  the  so-called  "  free  traders  "  would 
have  us  adopt.  David  A.  Wells,  Professor  Perry,  and  all  the 
economists  of  the  Manchester  school  are  fond  of  clamoring 
for  "free  trade";  but  an  examination  of  their  position  always 
shows  them  the  most  ardent  advocates  of  monopoly  in  the 
manufacture  of  money, — the  bitterest  opponents  of  free  trade 
in  credit.  They  agree  and  insist  that  it  is  nothing  less  than 
tyranny  for  the  government  to  clip  a  large  slice  out  of  the 
foreign  product  which  any  one  choses  to  import,  but  are  un- 
able to  detect  any  violation  of  freedom  in  the  exclusive  license 
given  by  the  government  to  a  conspiracy  of  note-shaving  cor- 
porations called  national  banks,  which  are  enabled  by  this 
monopoly  to  clip  anywhere  from  three  to  fifteen  per  cent,  out 
of  the  credit  which  the  people  are  compelled  to  buy  of  them. 
Such  "free  trade"  as  this  is  the  most  palpable  sham  to  any 
one  who  really  looks  into  it.  It  makes  gold  a  privileged  prod- 
uct, the  king  of  commodities.  And  as  long  as  this  royalty  of 
gold  exists,  the  protectionists  who  make  so  much  of  the  theory 


of  the  "balance  of  trade"  will  occupy. an  invulnerable  position. 
While  gold  is  king,  the  nation  which  absorbs  it — that  is,  the 
nation  whose  exports  largely  exceed  its  imports — will  surely 
govern  the  world.  But  dethrone  this  worst  of  despots,  and 
that  country  will  be  the  most  powerful  which  succeeds  to  the 
largest  extent  in  getting  rid  of  its  gold  in  exchange  for  prod- 
ucts more  useful.  In  other  words,  the  republicanization  of 
specie  must  precede  the  freedom  of  trade. — Liberty,  March  i8, 

Some  nincompoop,  writing  to  the  Detroit  Spectator  in'oppo- 
sition  to  cheap  money,  says  :  "  If  low  interest  insured  high 
wages,  during  times  of  business  depression  wages  would  be 
high,  for  then  interest  reaches  its  minimum."  Another  man 
unable  to  see  below  the  surface  of  things  and  distinguish  as- 
sociation from  causation  !  The  friends  of  cheap  money  do 
not  claim  that  low  interest  insures  high  wages.  What  they 
claim  is  that  free  competition  in  currency-issuing  and  the  con- 
sequent activity  of  capital  insure  both  low  interest  and  high 
wages.  They  do  not  deny  that  low  interest  sometimes  results 
from  other  causes  and  unaccompanied  by  any  increase  in 
wages.  When  the  money  monopolists  through  their  privilege 
have  bled  the  producers  nearly  all  they  can,  hard  times  set  in, 
business  becomes  very  insecure,  no  one  dares  to  venture  in 
new  directions  or  proceed  much  further  in  old  directions, 
there  is  no  demand  for  capital,  and  therefore  interest  falls  ; 
but,  there  being  a  decrease  in  the  volume  of  business,  wages 
fall  also.  Suppose,  now,  that  great  leveller,  bankruptcy,  steps 
in  to  wipe  out  all  existing  claims,  and  economic  life  begins  over 
again  under  a  system  of  free  banking.  What  happens  then  ? 
All  capital  is  at  once  made  available  by  the  abundance  of  the 
currency,  and  the  supply  is  so  great  that  interest  is  kept  very 
low  ;  but  confidence  being  restored  and  the  way  being  clear 
for  all  sorts  of  new  enterprises,  there  is  also  a  great  demand 
for  capital,  and  the  consequent  increase  in  the  volume  of 
business  causes  wages  to  rise  to  a  very  high  point.  When 
people  are  afraid  to  borrow,  interest  is  low  and  wages  are  low; 
when  people  are  anxious  to  borrow,  but  can  find  only  a  very 
little  available  capital  in  the  market,  interest  is  high  and  wages 
are  low  ;  when  people  are  both  anxious  to  borrow  and  can 
readily  do  so,  interest  is  low  and  wages  are  high,  the  only  ex- 
ception being  that,  when  from  some  special  cause  labor  is  ex- 
traordinarily productive  (as  was  the  case  in  the  early  days  of 
California),  interest  temporarily  is  high  also. — Liberty,  Novem- 
ber 22,  188^. 

294  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

"  To  produce  wealth  in  the  shape  of  coal,"  says  Henry 
George,  "  nothing  is  needed  but  a  bed  of  coal  and  a  man." 
Yes,  one  thing  else  is  needed, — a  pick-axe.  This  neglect  of 
the  pick-axe  and  of  the  means  of  obtaining  it  is  a  vital  flaw  in 
Mr.  George's  economy.  It  leads  him  to  say  that  "what  hin- 
ders the  production  of  wealth  is  not  the  lack  of  money  to  pay 
wages  with,  but  the  inability  of  men  who  are  willing  to  work 
to  obtain  access  to  natural  opportunities."  That  this  lack  of 
access,  in  the  proportion  that  it  exists,  is  a  hinderance  to  pro- 
duction is  indisputable,  but  in  this  country  it  is  but  a  molehill 
in  labor's  path  compared  with  the  mountain  that  confronts 
labor  in  consequence  of  the  lack  of  money.  In  fact,  the  lack 
of  access  is  largely  due  to  the  lack  of  money. — Liberty,  July 
30,  1887. 

In  disposing  with  his  usual  cleverness  of  the  economists' 
apologies  for  interest  G.  Bernard  Shaw  takes  a  position  upon 
the  money  question  not  at  all  in  harmony  with  the  State  So- 
cialism toward  which  he  usually  inclines.  He  would  be  taken, 
in  fact,  for  a  first-class  Anarchist.  Speaking  of  the  tax  which 
the  banker  who  has  a  monopoly  levies  upon  all  commerce,  he 
says  :  "  Only  by  the  freedom  of  other  financiers  to  adopt  his 
system  and  tempt  his  customers  by  offering  to  share  the  ad- 
vantage with  them,  can  that  advantage  eventually  be  distrib- 
uted throughout  the  community."  Only,  observe.  No  other 
method  will  do  it.  Government  monopoly  will  not  do  it. 
Nothing  but  laissez-faire,  free  competition,  free  money,  in  short, 
as  far  as  it  goes,  pure  Anarchism,  can  abolish  interest  on 
money.  When  Mr.  Shaw  shall  apply  this  principle  in  all 
directions,  he  and  Liberty  will  stand  on  the  same  platform. — 
Liberty,  September  24,  1887. 

It  is  a  common  saying  of  George,  McGlynn,  Redpath,  and 
their  allies  that  they,  as  distinguished  from  the  State  Socialists, 
want  less  government  instead  of  more,  and  that  it  is  no  part 
of  the  function  of  government  to  interfere  with  production 
and  distribution  except  to  the  extent  of  assuming  control  of 
the  bounties  of  nature  and  of  such  industries  as  are  naturally 
and  necessarily  monopolies, — that  is,  such  as  are,  in  the  nature 
of  things,  beyond  the  reach  of  competition's  influence.  In  the 
latter  category  they  place  the  conduct  of  railroads  and  tele- 
graphs and  the  issue  of  money.  Now,  inasmuch  as  it  takes  an 
enormous  capital  to  build  a  railroad,  and  as  strips  of  land  three 
thousand  miles  long  by  thirty  feet  wide  are  not  to  be  picked 
up  ?very  day,  I  can  see  some  shadow  of  justificatioii  for  th? 


claim  that  railroads  are  necessarily  exempt  to  a  marked  extent 
from  competition,  although  I  do  not  think  on  that  account 
that  it  will  be  necessary  to  hand  them  over  to  the  government 
in  order  to  secure  their  benefits  for  the  people.  Still,  if  I 
were  to  accept  Mr.  George's  premise  that  industries  which  are 
necessarily  monopolies  should  be  managed  by  the  State,  I 
might  possibly  conclude  that  railroads  and  some  other  enter- 
prises belong  under  that  head.  But  how  his  premise  is  related 
to  the  issue  of  money  I  do  not  understand  at  all.  That  the 
issue  of  money  is  at  present  a  monopoly  I  admit  and  insist, 
but  it  is  such  only  because  the  State  has  laid  violent  hands 
upon  it,  either  to  hold  for  itself  or  to  farm  out  as  a  privilege. 
If  left  free,  there  is  nothing  in  its  nature  that  necessarily 
exempts  it  from  competition.  It  takes  little  or  no  capital  to 
start  a  bank  of  issue  whose  operations  may  become  world- 
wide, and,  if  a  thousand  banks  should  prove  necessary  to  the 
prevention  of  exorbitant  rates,  it  is  as  feasible  to  have  them  as 
to  have  one.  Why,  then,  is  the  issue  of  money  necessarily  a 
monopoly,  and  as  such  to  be  entrusted  exclusively  to  the 
State  ?  I  have  asked  Mr.  George  a  great  many  questions  in 
the  last  half-dozen  years,  not  one  of  which  has  he  ever  con- 
descended to  answer.  Therefore  I  scarcely  dare  hope  that  he 
will  vouchsafe  the  important  information  which  I  now  beg  of 
him. — Liberty,  October  8,  1887. 

The  different  uses  of  the  word  "  free  "  lead  to  many  misun- 
derstandings. For  instance,  a  writer  in  the  Denver  Arbitrator 
gives  the  preference  to  free  trade  and  free  land  over  free 
money  and  free  transportation  on  the  ground  that  the  former 
are  "  natural  rights  "  while  the  latter  are  "  privileges  that  can 
be  conferred  only  by  society."  Here  free  money  is  evidently 
taken  to  mean  the  supply  of  money  to  the  people  free  of  cost 
by  some  external  power.  But  it  no  more  means  that  than  free 
rum  means  the  supply  of  rum  free  of  cost.  It  means  freedom 
to  manufacture  money  and  offer  it  in  the  market,  and  is  a  part 
of  free  trade  itself.  One  may  look  upon  free  money  and  free 
trade  as  privileges,  or  as  rights,  or  as  simple  equalities  recog- 
nized by  contract ;  that  is  a  matter  of  ethics  and  politics.  But 
whichever  way  one  views  them,  he  must  view  both  alike,  for 
economically  they  are  the  same  in  principle.  There  is  no  pos- 
sible justification  for  calling  one  a  right  and  the  other  a 
privilege,  and  giving  a  preference  to.  one  or  the  other  on 
the  basis  of  that  distinction. — Liberty,  September  29,  1888. 

"  A  right  theory  of  the  functions  of  money,"  writes  Robert 
Ellis  Thompson  in  the  Iri^h  World,  "  is  of  the  first  necessity 

296  INSTEAD    OF    A    BOOK. 

for  understanding  the  controversy  between  protection  and  free 
trade."  This  is  an  important  truth,  first  expressed,  I  think,, 
by  Proudhon.  It  is  precisely  because  Mr.  Thompson  does 
not  understand  the  money  question  that  he  is  a  protectionist. 
Supposing  that  State  control  of  money  is  a  foregone  conclu- 
sion, he  sees  as  a  logical  result  of  this  false  premise  that  the 
State  must  also  control  the  balance  of  trade.  That  his  pre- 
mise may  be  doubted  does  not  seem  to  have  occurred  to  him. 
"  The  most  extreme  free  trader,"  he  says,  "  opposes  free  trade